WICB says WIPA claim overstated
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said Monday that a US$20 million claim made by the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in a lawsuit against the WICB has been overstated.
However newly appointed CEO of the WICB Michael Muirhead has declined to speculate on the value of the claim saying only that the WICB estimates the figure to be less than what WIPA is claiming.
The claim is the subject of one of several ongoing court disputes between WICB and WIPA which represents about 300 cricketers in the Caribbean.
"The courts will decide if they win what will be a reasonable amount and we certainly on our side do not believe it's anywhere near that figure that they have quoted," said Muirhead, during a news conference in Barbados Monday, his first since taking over the job of CEO on October 1.
"In assessing our side it will be nowhere near the 20 million dollars. I have no idea. I could not quote a figure. Something less than 20 million," Muirhead told reporters pressing for a figure.
At the heart of the case are allegations by WIPA that the board has refused to grant an unconditional No Objection Certificate (NOC) to players who have no contractual obligations to the WICB.
According to WIPA, such actions constitute "an unreasonable restraint of trade" since they prevent the "players from freely plying their trade as free agents".
WICB president Julien Hunte said the WICB is prepared to accept the ruling of the court and has expressed confidence the board would not become insolvent if the case is lost.
"If we lose the case we would have no choice but to meet whatever the financial liability is," the WICB president told journalists.
"Let us take the worst case scenario and we have to meet it plus cost, we would have to find it. I don't see the West Indies Cricket Board becoming insolvent as a result."
WIPA is seeking at least US$10 million in damages to compensate members for lost earnings and a further US$10 million to compensate players for what it describes as WICB's willful and malicious actions.
"I will have to ensure that we never have a repeat of the situation and we make sure that we pay attention to details as they affect the WICB," the new CEO said.
"In the one week that I have been there I have been putting in place procedures that will ensure that something like this will never happen again."
Under the current system, players require a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their member boards to participate in domestic tournaments in other countries such as the IPL in India and the Friends Life t20 in England.