Zim won't boycott, but revenue talks heat up

HARARE - Zimbabwe's cricketers have resolved not boycott the ICC World Twenty20 competition, but will continue to demand that the board to set aside 25 percent of the tournament revenue to guarantee payment for the next 12 months.

The team’s participation at the tournament had been thrown into further doubt after players threatened not to travel to Bangladesh as scheduled on Wednesday if their demands were not met. 

Zimbabwe Cricket rejected the proposal, threatening that players would be “liable for the breach and ZC would claim from them any damage occasioned by their conduct” if they boycotted the tournament.

ZC is set to receive $8.9 million from the ICC for their participation in the tournament, and the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association had demanded that $2,225 million be released to the players’ body to avoid further payment disputes as the one which led to a two-month strike by the players at the beginning of the year.

ZPCA secretary-general Eliah Zvimba told the Daily News yesterday that ZC and the players will sign an agreement today on the payment match fees, appearance fees and winning bonuses for the World Twenty20, paving way for the tour. Talks on the 25 percent will continue.  

From the ICC funds for the tournament, ZC has proposed paying the players a tournament fee of $8 333 each just for making the squad, with some players standing to earn as much as $19 833 minus winning bonuses. 

“The deal is done regarding the match fees and appearance fees, we are expecting to sign tomorrow,” Zvimba said yesterday. 

“For now the players can tour while we look at bigger issue of the 25 percent. We have thrown a figure into fray and we hope they find it acceptable. It’s a win-win situation, we cannot deprive the nation of cricket.

“We have not surrendered our rights in terms of collective bargaining, but we cannot defy the ICC because it is the same revenue we are looking for. We want to go and participate because we want ZC to get the same money we are looking for. But we will continue to demand the 25 percent.”

Zvimba also revealed that the 25 percent will go towards match fees and appearance fees only, while ZC will continue to pay salaries as per their contract with the players – adding that their demand was international common practice.

“When we approached them they didn’t know what we mean. Their stance was due to lack of knowledge of international trends.

“So we asked the Fica (Federation of International Cricketers) to approach ICC while we engage ZC from this front. Looking at the timeframe, with the team leaving for Bangladesh on Wednesday, we said we need a provisional position and way forward. We need to agree on figures. We hope ZC will negotiate in good faith and that the ICC will guide us on whether our figures are too high or too low.”

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