Wicricnews – The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is facing pressure from its sponsors and commercial partners to resolve the ongoing payment dispute with the West Indies players ahead of the tour of South Africa in December.
The West Indies team had withdrawn from their Test and limited-overs tour of India, leading to a fallout between the WICB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who reportedly suffered losses in the region of $US65 million due to the withdrawal.
The BCCI reacted by announcing they would “initiate legal proceedings” against the WICB, and suspended all bilateral tours between the two sides, although they stopped short of banning the West Indies players from the Indian Premier League.
Oliver McIntosh, the chief executive officer of Digicel Sportsmax, a pan-Caribbean sports television network, called for the WICB to make serious changes. “We are due to broadcast West Indies tour of South Africa in December and January. We have invested a lot of money in the rights and in the talent,” McIntosh was quoted as saying by Reuters on Thursday (October 23). “We have started marketing it, we have sponsors on board and if that doesn’t happen, you totally retract, you have to go back to sponsors and give back money.
“We are worried. It does impact our audience. If West Indies cricket is no longer on, that is a big blow for us, a big blow.”
McIntosh said it was important for the sponsors to get involved, given that they stood to lose a lot, and called for the WICB to be restructured. “What has to happen in this case is that the private interests have to get involved and say, ‘Look, if I have a stake here, if you want me to stay involved and want me to continue to help funding the cricket, this is how it has to go’.
“The board has to be restructured. You need to get some independent people on the board who are not going to run it on a country basis. Whenever there is a new president elected and he is from Jamaica, then the CEO comes from Jamaica and then if he’s from St Lucia, then it’s a St. Lucian.
“It has to be what is best for cricket and developing cricket. I think that private interests are going to have to get involved in saying it is not going to work (like this).”
Digicel, the telecommunications company that recently bought Sportsmax and which is one of the main sponsors of West Indies cricket, issued a statement to Reuters saying they were “disappointed” with the withdrawal and that they would “have a discussion” with the WICB.
West Indies are slated to tour South Africa for three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals. The first Test is to begin on December 17 at Centurion. (WICB)
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