Saturday, April 20, 2024

WIPA hits out


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THE FIRST VERBAL battle of the year between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) is on.
WIPA is accusing the WICB of going on a spending spree, charging that the regional governing body would incur a cost of US$1 million to host two English counties in the upcoming Caribbean Twenty20 tournament.
In response, the WICB rejected WIPA’s claim, saying it would spend less than US$300 000 for all airfares and appearance fees for Hampshire and Somerset to participate in the January 10 to January 23 tournament in Antigua and Barbados.
In a two-page statement, WIPA said the WICB expenditure for this year’s tournament and the inaugural competition last July would amount to US$6 million for a championship for which they are yet to get sponsors.
 “Although the WICB claims that this represents an investment aimed at attracting foreign investors and broadcasters, building a tournament and improving the brand of West Indies cricket, they have not disclosed how much more they are expecting to spend in the future and what exactly they hope to achieve in both the short and long run,” WIPA said.
“Under normal circumstances, it is expected that any major investment like this would have a clearly defined plan which would indicate when and how much they expect these ‘investments’ to add to the board’s revenue streams.”
WIPA director Michael Hall questioned what he perceived as the WICB’s sudden turnaround in their outlook for spending.
“This massive spend on the Caribbean Twenty20 is in direct contrast to a statement made by the WICB chief executive officer in January 2010, when the number of first-class domestic matches in a season was reduced to amongst the world’s lowest number in any Test-playing country,” Hall said.
More millions
Hall, a former WICB chief cricket operations officer and Cricket World Cup 2007 cricket operations director, said in addition to the US$1 million spent on the two English counties, the WICB was spending US$1 million for producing and broadcasting the event and another US$1 million for travel for the Canada team, umpires, other match officials, WICB staff, WICB hospitality, meals, travel and accommodation for the seven regional teams and player fees.
“In other words, the needs of the regional players who provide ‘the entertainment’ and on whom the possibilities for increasing the board’s revenue depend are again squarely relegated to the back burner,” WIPA said.
The WICB pointed out that as the identified marquee tournament, the Caribbean Twenty20 – complete with full television coverage done for the benefit of players, fans and West Indies cricket as a brand –required a larger investment than other regional tournaments.
It also explained that an increase from eight to ten teams and 16 to 24 matches led to increased match operating and logistics costs, accommodation and travel expenses and television production costs. (HG)

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