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Cameron says CWI has concerns with CPL

MIKE KING, [email protected]

Cameron says CWI has concerns with CPL

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Franchise owners in the Caribbean Premier League are losing big bucks and if that continues it could threaten the future of the popular regional T20 league.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron expressed this concern at a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) luncheon for dozens of its members and the media at Kensington Oval yesterday afternoon.

“Cricket West Indies has major concerns with the CPL. We need to ensure that we have maximum young players being showcased and we are also concerned that we have players outside of the system who are given opportunities and they are not registering within the Barbados franchise, the Jamaica franchise etc.

“We are also concerned that the owners are losing money, and if they continue to lose money then they will essentially pull out and CPL falls flat. We may not have to break the long-term contract we have with CPL, they may give it back.

“We don’t want it back, but we would like to modify it. There is a way to look at how we can get greater participation and upside from the CPL going forward,” he said.

Before an audience that included Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Richard Cheltenham and BCA president Conde Riley, Cameron said that the CPL had lost more than US$20 million over the last five years they have been in operation.

“I know people talk about the numbers in the stands and the fanfare, but sports today is about television rights and because we do not have Indian players in our leagues, the Indian broadcasters are not paying any money for the cricket and the UK broadcasters are not paying any meaningful money,” he said.

He acknowledged that one of the main challenges facing West Indies cricket was that it was tough having the best team available when most of the times some of the leading players were making the T20 leagues around the world such as the IPL and the Big Bash, their main priority.

“Four of our players, and rightly so, have decided not to play for us in the ICC World Cup Qualifier, because they are making way more than we can pay them. That is the reality we are dealing with. The ICC is saying that that is a matter not for them but for a matter to be discussed in Australia, India, etc and not for world cricket.

“You can understand the dilemma that we face. We are living in a small area of about five million not so rich people, and our players would like to earn at the same level as players in India, Pakistan, Australia. That is our challenge and we are facing that challenge front on, and going forward we are looking at different ways and  models to ensure that our players are given the opportunity to earn the maximum while making West Indies cricket great again,” he said.

CWI has over the past few years made a series of appointments such as coach, batting coach, chief executive officer, commercial director and high performance director, all of whom hail from outside the Caribbean. Cameron defended those appointments, saying it was a matter of picking quality.

“I don’t think it is an indictment on the Caribbean. We have deliberatly gone outside and brought in skill sets to ensure that we have a world-class product anda transfer of skills on the way forward.

“There is one territorial board that has heeded the call and that is the BCA, that if you don’t hire quality people within the territorial boards, then Cricket West Indies will not have individuals to choose from,” he said.

Cameron defended the decision by CWI to appoint several support cast from outside the region.

“I know there are people who feel we have brought in too many people from outside but I assure you that it is to improve on what we have within our region as we strive to make the West Indies a world-class brand,” adding that it was about establishing a brand and at the same time creating economic value. (MK)

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