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    November 20

  • 10:47 PM

ON THE BALL: Told you so

JUSTIN MARVILLE, justinmarville@nationnews.com

Added 03 May 2017

bloc-ontheball-tennis

I KNOW IT’S really not nice to rub something in someone’s nose and say “I told you so”.

But I won’t ever be confused for nice.

So to all of Barbados’ best road tennis players, let me just say . . . I told you so.

I mean it was less than two months ago I wrote (in this same space no less) that they needed to form a players’ association or they’ll be subject to the whims and fancies of the Professional Road Tennis Association (PRTA).

Well lo and behold.

There’s just something for me about being proven right, and that’s exactly what the PRTA did by failing to pay any of the competing players nearly a month after the conclusion of the Massy United Insurance Clash Of The Titans.

Now without a union, the players have absolutely no recourse.

They can’t quite turn to the National Sports Council because the PRTA isn’t the recognised governing body for local road tennis.

The Barbados Olympic Association is of no help to the players either, considering road tennis isn’t an Olympic sport.

Heck, Massy isn’t even a last resort for them, as the title sponsors’ agreement is with the PRTA and not with the players.

And Massy has long paid in its sponsorship money.

It’s for these kind of reasons why I said the players had to form an association that acts as a bargaining body protecting their rights in any dealings with the PRTA.

Because, in the absence of such a union, the PRTA is allowed to act as a superior entity or a ruling amateur federation as sorts instead of the partner it should be.

That’s right, I said partner, since the players and the PRTA ought to be involved in a partnership that is looking to maximise profits via revenue sharing.

But the problem is these players don’t understand their value.

As I wrote before, the players are the most important entities of professional road tennis as the true money earners because no one comes to see Dale Clarke organise tournaments.

The real reason that Massy United Insurance will sign a three-year deal for $120 000 is on the belief that the Clash Of The Titans will get mileage through the country’s top players like Mark “Venom” Griffith, Julian “Michael Jackson” White, Curtis Jones, Kerry Francis, Emar Edwards, Dario Hinds and Darius “Barracus” Gaskin.

Huge crowds are going to come through the turnstiles to see the style and flair of Antonio “Lil Man” and not Clarke’s administrative capabilities.

The media definitely wouldn’t expend time or resources to a road tennis event that didn’t feature any of these big names but showcased Chris Griffith and Randy “Serenader” Bennett instead.

Yet somehow the PRTA doesn’t treat the players like the true prize commodities that they are.

Nope, Dwayne Lynch has been banned for wearing his own sponsored gear without a hearing.

Rachel Smith is currently suspended over something similar.

Now their counterparts haven’t received a single cent from a tournament that was already given a $40 000 sponsorship cheque.

And you’d think that even if the PRTA significantly went over budget that at least some of the players would have been paid, if not all.

After all, the Clash Of The Titans had at least two other sponsors and not just Massy United Insurance’s $40 000 endorsement.

Come to think of it, the PRTA generated further revenue through gate receipts from the quarter-final stages.

But none of this money has yet to go to the men who are responsible for bringing it in.

Go figure.

The only possible way forward from here has to be the creation of a players’ association led by the likes of Daniel, White, Griffith and Jones.

That way they can withhold their services for disputes like these and make cases for rule changes.

They can fight for revenue sharing.

They can contest disciplinary rulings.

And they can avoid having to hear me say “I told you so” again.

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