Showdown likely between players and NZC
New Zealand players involved in contracts dispute
New Zealand's players are struggling to sort out a contracts dispute with their board
The New Zealand players and their board might be heading for a showdown over disagreements regarding their contracts during ICC-governed tournaments. A clause in the contract requires the players to renounce their individual sponsorship deals when it clashes with the official sponsors of tournaments like the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, but the players are reluctant to toe the line.
According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the players are yet to sign a collective participation contract, which stipulates that they cannot endorse products that are in direct conflict with the tournament sponsors during major competitions like the World Cup and Champions Trophy. The issue in this clause that affects the players the most is that the ICC imposes this restriction for a period of six months - three months each before and after the tournament.
A similar showdown was witnessed with the Indian team on two occasions - during the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2003 World Cup. However, the Indian board had worked out a solution at the last minute, and the players eventually signed the contract conditionally. The tournament sponsors retaliated by seeking damages with the ICC and even withheld the payment due to India, to the tune of over US$13million. The smaller size of the New Zealand board - their annual turnover is only around $25million - means that they could be hit very hard if similar action is taken against them.
NZC and the New Zealand Players' Association (NZPA) are yet to comment on this issue. The agreement was supposed to have been signed on June 1, and with the Champions Trophy to be held in October, the warring parties don't have much time to sort out the issue.