Sri Lankan cricket in trouble over payment dispute

A row between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 23 centrally contracted players has put the two-match Test series against Bangladesh, beginning at Galle on Friday, in jeopardy, with players and officials giving differing versions.

Former skipper and now the Lankan chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya met the players in an effort to broker peace on Sunday evening, and he said the players have assured him to sign the contracts before the deadline set by the SLC.

"The matter has been resolved. Captain Angelo Mathews and Vice-Captain Dinesh Chandimal have informed me that all the players have agreed to sign the contracts," Jayasuriya told reporters here after meeting the players.

However, SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said players have been given time till 10 am on Monday to sign fresh contracts. "The (next) selection committee meeting is scheduled for Monday 10 a.m. and by that time if they have not returned the signed contracts they would not be selected to play in the series against Bangladesh," Ranatunga told Reuters.

"We have been told not to say anything to the media," Kumar Sangakkara said.
The  stand-off between players and the national board saw the SLC deciding to dump 23 of its top players from international cricket until they sign on the contentious contract terms, also casting a shadow on their participation in the Indian Premier League starting next month.

The SLC officials went down the drastic road after the revolting players had refused to sign the new contract terms. Player contracts expired on February 28 and they were to sign them before March 2 deadline prescribed by the Board.  “We spoke to all of the players present at the meeting, and gave our viewpoints and they also gave their points,” SLC President Upali Dharmadasa was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.

The major point of the dispute in the new contracts is SLC’s refusal to pay the players 25 per cent of the Board’s earnings from ICC events, as they have done since 2003. This payment is to compensate players for their images being used by the ICC and its sponsors to promote the tournament as well as during the event.
Other points of contention include the Board’s move to freeze payment to cricketers taking part in the IPL for as long as the player is with his IPL team, a clause tying pay to team performance.

Under the new clause, if a Sri Lanka cricketer joins his IPL team a week before the 2013 tournament begins, and remains with the team until the final on May 26, he will lose 16.4 per cent of his annual salary from SLC.

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