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West Indies Players Association opposes WICB levy on player contracts

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The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) has voiced its opposition to a 20 per cent No Objection Certificate (NOC) levy imposed by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

Citing that it was not benefiting from its investment in players, who go on to play in the professional leagues globally and do not return to play in domestic competitions, the WICB said it was at a disadvantage under the current status quo.

“WICB having invested in developing a player’s talent, is not able to realize a return on its investment if the player is not available to play in local tournaments, which would allow lesser experienced players the opportunity to face more experienced and skilled opposition, thereby improving on the standard and competitiveness of the domestic tournament,” the WICB said in a statement released Tuesday.

“In addition, the player is unavailable to mentor and develop younger players and to otherwise contribute to the overall growth of the game and its development infrastructure. It has become a system that disadvantages nations like the West Indies which have traditionally developed players who are particularly skilled in the shortest format of the game. In the end, it compromises the standard of the WICB’s international team and that team’s performance internationally. The primacy of international cricket is threatened.”

As such the WICB says it will now levy a charge for the granting of an NOC for West Indian cricketers seeking a release to participate in Leagues outside the jurisdiction of the West Indies.

“This will be an amount equivalent to 20 per cent of the player fee (as defined in the player contract) that is actually paid to the relevant player,” the WICB statement said. “All NOCs will be subject to West Indies international commitments and, in respect of centrally contracted players, official domestic cricket matches in the West Indies.”

In a swift reply WIPA said a levy on players’ earnings is not the answer and suggested that the action of the WICB could be challenged in a court of law.

“The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) takes note of the position taken by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) on the condition for issuance of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to West Indian players,” the WIPA statement said.

“WIPA believes an imposition of a NOC levy by the WICB is not the answer to the lack of coherent global scheduling. A centrally regulated and coordinated international cricket programme for all three formats is necessary for the improvement of global cricket. As such, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will need to spearhead the complete restructure of the international cricket calendar.”

WIPA said it was totally against any new market restrictions or regulations that may limit West Indian players and the present NOC levy of the WICB promotes the restraint of trade and is open to be challenged legally.

“To ensure that this matter is addressed immediately, we are proposing that the WICB meets with all stakeholders regionally (WIPA) and internationally (ICC, FICA) forthwith,” WIPA said.

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