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Sri Lanka settle contract dispute

Colombo: Sri Lankan cricket board and players resolved a contract dispute on Thursday, clearing the way for the team to take part in next month’s World Cup.

The players had been demanding 20 percent of the board’s guaranteed fee of $6.4 million from the tournament, but settled for 12 percent, plus an additional three percent in match incentive fees.

“We wrapped it up this afternoon. All the players signed on,” board chief executive Anura Tennekoon said.

The board had initially offered 10 percent plus an incentive fee, saying any more would jeopardise development activities.

The dispute caused the board to miss last Friday’s ICC deadline for the contracts, but was resolved after beginning direct talks with the players on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Sri Lanka Cricketers’ Association denied rumours that the attitudes of a few top players — among them captain Sanath Jayasuriya and his deputy Maravan Atapattu — had prevented the rest of the squad from signing their contracts.

“It was not so that the senior players were pressuring the team. All 15 had ideas and we had to come up with one voice,” team spokesman Graeme Labrooy said. The cricket board also said there were no hard feelings, praising the players for agreeing to pay two percent of their guaranteed fee to development squads.

“It was noble for the players to suggest,” Interim Committee chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya said.

WICB-players parley

The West Indies players are trying to reach agreement with their board over sharing team sponsorship revenues at the Cup, says a report from London.

Roger Braithwaite, chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), met players’ representatives Dinanath Ramnarine and Wavell Hinds Wednesday in Antigua.

In a late development, some progress has been made in settling the dispute.

The players are demanding a majority share of the sponsorship in a situation that revives memories of the team’s strike at London’s Heathrow Airport before their ill-fated tour of South Africa in 1998-99. (Reuters)

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