All 24 cricketers offered the new contracts have opposed the deals offered to them
Sri Lanka’s men’s cricketers have refused to sign the contracts offered to them by Sri Lanka Cricket, citing a lack of transparency in the manner in which contract categories have been allocated. The players also expressed “shock and dismay” that proposed salary details were revealed to the public, in a statement issued by their legal representative.
Senior players whose base salaries had been hit hardest by the proposed contract scheme had been expected to push back against the new pay scale, but here, all 24 cricketers offered the new contracts have opposed the deals offered to them. In the statement from attorney Nishan Sydney Premathiratne – agreed to by all 24 cricketers – the players have said they are “not in agreement to sign unfair and non-transparent contracts and urge SLC to not hold the players at gunpoint or give the players such ultimatums”. ESPNcricinfo understands that the players have been given till June 3 to sign the contracts.
Primarily, the players want to know how much each of them scored on the player-assessment model devised by SLC, which allocated each player into his respective contract category. The new contracts process, devised largely by director of cricket Tom Moody and SLC’s Technical Advisory Committee headed by Aravinda de Silva, supposedly gave 50% weightage to performance since 2019, 20% to player fitness, and 10% each to leadership, professionalism, and future potential and adaptability. The players claim, though, that none of them know how much any of them scored on these criteria, and that their scores should be revealed to them.
“Despite the players’ requests from the Management Committee for information regarding the manner in which points were allocated in respect of the categorisation, none of the players have been provided with their individual assessment sheets setting out how points were awarded under the criteria of performance, fitness, leadership and professionalism,” the statement from Premathiratne said.
The statement also takes issue with the fact that SLC “has seen it fit to release to the public, specific payment details of contract fees paid to specific players, in a one sided manner, without placing the same in the context of earnings of players in other cricketing nations, the entire earnings of Sri Lanka Cricket and also without disclosing the payments made to the officials/administrators, coaches and support staff of Sri Lanka Cricket.” On top of which the statement alleges that SLC attempted to have some players sign the contracts ahead of the tour of Bangladesh, while negotiations were ongoing.
In addition to all this, the statement alleges that the remuneration offered in SLC’s contracts represents figures that are “more than threefold lower” than the sums paid to players of boards that are financially comparable to SLC. Also, that SLC “has in the past paid local and foreign coaches significant sums of money (salaries of approximately over 7 Million Rupees per month) and all those facts have to be placed in context when attempting to highlight and portray payments to be made to Sri Lankan cricketers”.
If the cricketers do not sign the contracts offered to them by the June 3 deadline, a “tour contract” for the forthcoming series in England seems the likeliest outcome – essentially a temporary measure while the main, central contracts are negotiated.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf