Proposals to regulate and reform the global cricketing landscape in the face of growing concern over the rise of T20 tournaments and the threat to Test cricket will be put before national governing bodies next month but the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) wants to be consulted to ensure no “arbitrary restrictions” are imposed on the world’s players.
The plans, revealed by The Guardian newspaper, suggest a raft of initiatives which will be put forward at the ICC’s next meeting in April in Kolkata. They include restricting the number of domestic T20 tournaments a player under the age of 32 can play in a year to just three, separate blocks in the calendar for T20 and international cricket as well as common standards for player welfare and payment. There are also proposals for the tournaments to pay 20% mandatory compensation to a player’s home board.
The timing is topical for a number of reasons. England players Adil Rashid and Alex Hales have recently announced that they will no longer be playing red ball cricket for their counties – thus ruling them out of Test contention – in a bid to specialise in the limited overs game while the attendances at the recent Test in Durban between South Africa and Australia, two of the best teams in the world, were largely poor.
Throw in the fact that many of West Indies’ best players are currently playing in the Pakistan Super League in the UAE rather than for their country in the qualifying tournament for next year’s World Cup and it is little wonder that international cricket, and specifically the Test and ODI formats, is seen to be in crisis. The fear is that more and more players will forsake the international game to become globetrotting T20 cricketers for hire.
While recognising and advocating that a balance between the international game and the T20 leagues needs to be struck, FICA oppose those proposals which they argue would place “arbitrary restrictions” on players. They also want the players themselves, through the cricketers’ associations, to have a say in any reforms to the global cricketing landscape rather than the national Boards or the ICC simply imposing them unilaterally.
“FICA has an obligation to protect and promote players fundamental employment rights, including their right to choose who their employer is, and to play where they are valued without penalty, including through opportunities provided to them in the rapidly growing and positive T20 landscape, which has been created by the Boards themselves,” Tony Irish, Executive Chairman of FICA, told Cricbuzz in an email.
“FICA therefore continues to oppose arbitrary restriction, such as the imposition of release fees, on players as a way of solving inherent issues with the structure of the game but we think some form of compensation for producing players could be a possible element of agreed global regulation.
“A fit for purpose regulatory framework – including minimum standards for tournaments and proper payment mechanisms for player contracts – is likely to be an important part of setting up a better more coherent global structure. Any framework should be agreed with players through their collective representatives, rather than being random or unilaterally imposed on them.”