Sri Lanka players refuse to sign central contract citing transparency issues

The Sri Lanka national team players have refused to sign the annual central contract, alleging lack of transparency from the cricket board. Sri Lanka recently dropped seniors from the national team

The Sri Lanka national team players have refused to sign the annual central contract, alleging a lack of transparency from the cricket board. The decision wasn’t surprising as almost all the senior players in unison had made it clear that the contracts offered by the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) weren’t to their liking and also excluded some deserving performers.

The players in a collective statement said that they have “decided not to sign the tour contract for the forthcoming tour of England and neither will they enter into any future contracts for tours”. The SLC had announced that 24 of the leading players were offered contracts under 4 categories and they had been given a deadline until June 3 to sign on dotted lines.

The annual retainership ranged between USD 70,000 to 100,000. Star batsman, Dananjaya de Silva was set to be the highest-paid at USD 100,000. At the height of the dispute and negotiations last month the players said remuneration proposed to players was more than three-fold lower than payments made to players of other counties according to information received from the Federation of International Cricket Association (FICA).

Sri Lanka is expected to tour England from June 18 to July 4, where they will play three ODIs and an equal number of T20 Internationals. However, the players have also clarified that at no point would they ever refuse to play for the country even when they have not signed the contract and SLC refuses to pay them their salaries.

The senior players were also not happy as public disclosure of their central contract amounts by SLC became a “grave security concern to every player”. Players claimed that the SLC decision had affected their self-confidence and peace of mind.

The chairman of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) Aravinda de Silva defended the new performance-linked pay system. He said that SLC was forced to take a “harsh decision based on the past performances of the players as Sri Lanka’s international ranking in all 3 formats had nose-dived.”

(with inputs from PTI)

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