Cricket News

Cricket-Sri Lanka board hopes to end player contracts dispute

COLOMBO, July 9 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s cricket board hopes to settle an increasingly bitter central contracts dispute with its players at an executive board meeting on Thursday, Board sources said.

All members of the national squad and officials from the Sri Lanka Cricketers’ Association (SLCA) will attend the board meeting headed by Sri Lanka Cricket chairman Arjuna Ranatunga.

Board sources said they were confident that an agreement could be reached on the players’ central contracts before a high-profile India tour later in the month.

Sri Lanka players, who returned home from Karachi on Wednesday after winning the Asia Cup, have not been paid since their Australia tour in February. The previous central contract ended on Feb. 28.

Senior cricketers agreed to a freeze in their central contract fees this year but have insisted that junior members of the national squad and the A team get substantial wage increases.

Last year, junior players received $15,000 a year as a retainer, the lowest annual contract fees of all test playing nations.

Ranatunga has refused any increment on match fees proposing instead that players be fined if they lose a test match.

Other stumbling blocks include player image rights clauses, a demand that cricketers cancel lucrative media contracts and a proposed changed in contract dates due to negotiation delays.

Sri Lanka’s proposed tour to England in April and May 2009 will also be discussed at the meeting.

The English Cricket Board (ECB) announced the dates of the tour on Tuesday but the tour has not yet been ratified by the government-appointed interim committee.

The tour clashes directly with the Indian Premier League, in which 12 Sri Lanka cricketers have contracts.

Editing by Clare Lovell