The world body for player rights has raised concern about a number of players who are yet to be paid in full by franchises in the Masters Champions League (MCL).
The inaugural season of the MCL – a Twenty20 league for veteran cricketers – was held earlier this year in Dubai and Sharjah and won by Gemini Arabians. That franchise, according to the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (Fica), is the only one to have paid its players in full.
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“A significant number of players who played in the MCL have not been paid their contractual entitlements,” Fica’s executive chairman Tony Irish said in a statement on Thursday.
“As far as we are aware only one team, the Gemini Arabians has been paid in full and on time. We understand it is a new event, however, the event finished more than three months ago, and the situation is entirely unacceptable.
“If it is possible for the Gemini Arabians to do things the right way and to honour commitments to players, we don’t see why the organisers have not ensured the same has happened for all players. They have an obligation to do so.”
The issue has not arisen out of the blue. During the season itself, reports had emerged at one stage that some captains had refused to continue playing until they were paid as per the agreements they had signed. The usual way for payments is to be divided up in instalments through the season.
The organisers of the league had to step in and fulfil what should have been the duty of the franchises by making some of the payments to ensure the league continued. At the time organisers said these were inevitable “teething issues” for such a venture.
That was one of a number of issues in the first season. The league also ran into trouble with a few international boards because of its ambiguous qualification rules. Initially it was believed only retired international cricketers would be allowed to take part though very soon it became clear that many of the players signing on were not retired but out of favour and merely looking for another Twenty20 league to play in.
“Cricket is a career, and just like other professionals, players make decisions based on the contracts they sign,” Irish said. “It is extremely disappointing that many player contracts have not been honoured in full, and we hope that given the potential of this event, MCL pay the outstanding amounts to players immediately.”
Fica has said it will assist affected players where it can. Zafar Shah, the head of the league, did not respond to attempts to seek comment.
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