Even as Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt said two weeks ago that no consideration had been given to cut salaries of contracted West-Indies players, the commercial woes of Cricket West-Indies have tumbled out of cupboard. The international men players have not been paid their match fee for the home series against Ireland in January (three ODIs and three T20Is) and the Sri Lanka tour in February-March (three ODIs and two T20Is). The international women are owed the match fees for the four matches they played in the T20 World Cup, played in February-March in Australia.
However, the biggest losers are the domestic players, most of whom have not been paid a large percentage of their match fees for the 2020 West Indies Championship, the regional four-day competition. In March, CWI discontinued the competition after eight of the 10 rounds, declaring Barbados the winners of the Headley-Weekes Trophy (named after Caribbean greats George Headley and Everton Weekes.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) has been struggling to honour its obligations of match fees to players since January because of a severe cash crunch, which has been worsened by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. ESPNcricinfo has reported that the international men players have not been paid their match fee for the home series against Ireland in January (three ODIs and three T20Is) and the Sri Lanka tour in February-March (three ODIs and two T20Is). The cricket website also reported that the international women are owed the match fees for the four matches they played in the T20 World Cup in February-March in Australia.
According to the report the West Indies women have received the prize money from the T20 World Cup, but not their match fees, which have also not been paid to the men’s white-ball squads.
CWI chief executive officer Johnny Grave told ESPNcricinfo that payments would be made in the near future. “Cricket West Indies is facing a tough time financially,” Grave said. “Whilst all of our contracted players have received their salaries and allowances, and some players have received prize money and match fees, there is still money that is outstanding and we are trying to settle these player payments as a priority.”
Grave told ESPNcricinfo that the match fees accrued in January, for the Ireland series and the first three rounds of the four-day tournament, were meant to be paid by the end of the subsequent month (February). Similarly, he said payments for February (rounds three-six of the championship along with the Sri Lanka tour and the Women’s T20 World Cup) were due by end of March. And, Grace said for the matches played in March (rounds seven and eight along with the Sri Lanka tour and the Women’s T20 World Cup) are only due by end of April.
Grave told ESPNcricinfo that “we are two months behind making match fee payments. I personally emailed all the players since the end of February when they would have been due (match fees). We have apologised to all the players and we are eternally grateful to their continued patience and support. We’ve been very open and honest as to why we can’t pay them and all the players know it is a priority for us to pay them as soon as we can.”
Grave said the primary reason CWI was facing the cash crunch was the huge losses the board suffered while hosting Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2018. He told ESPNcricinfo that “when we hosted Sri Lanka and Bangladesh we made a US $22 million loss. The media rights contract paid us less than a million dollars for those two tours.
InsideSport.co had earlier reported that CWI is struggling big time financially because of the impending media rights contract for the next cycle. Despite of being on road since last 6 months, CWI has not been able to seal the deal. The previous contract with Sony-Ten expired in late 2019.