ZPCA, Fica's ugly fallout

HARARE - There has been an ugly exchange between the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) and the Federation of International Cricketers Association (Fica), which has cast doubts over the two bodies’ continued work relationship. 

According to electronic mail communication between ZPCA and Fica of January 3, which is in possession of the Daily News, the standstill arises from various factors.

Some of them included the dismissal of former ZPCA chief executive Eliah Zvimba as well as the signing of World Cup player terms which Fica has labelled “tantamount to selling the players’ leverage”.

Fica, the international body for player unions across the cricket-playing world, expressed disappointment towards ZPCA for “for giving up their freedom” by signing the World Cup player terms unconditionally.

Fica chief operating officer Ian Smith wrote to ZPCA registering his displeasure.

“I am deeply disappointed to hear that you have signed World Cup player terms and given those crucial documents unconditionally to ZC (Zimbabwe Cricket),” wrote Smith.

“As far as I knew, the last advice you received as a player group was strongly not to sign those terms until satisfactory agreements had been reached with ZC. I must assume then that, as you have signed, you have reached a satisfactory agreement with ZC. Am I wrong to assume that? What is that agreement?

“My take on the current state of ZC is that, as they’re concerned, as long as they send a team to the World Cup and get their ICC payment, the rest can go to hell – that is tomorrow’s problem and that includes how the professional game will be funded for the next few years.”

“ZPCA’s leverage only exists in your ability to determine whether a team goes to the world Cup. If you have already given up that leverage, how is the future of cricket in Zimbabwe to be secured? What is your plan? ... When ZC send in your signed player terms to ICC, your leverage will be gone. ZC will do whatever they like and ZPCA is unlikely to mean anything until we are in precisely the same situation before the 2016 World T20.”

In response, ZPCA said the players had confidence in the negotiation skills of their new CEO, who is still to be appointed.

“Players were holding onto squad term forms and were advised by Eliah (Zvimba) to hand in the signed forms and yet you guys have been claiming Eliah has been communicating well with you,” a ZPCA executive committee wrote.

“Comparing to other countries, we have had our fair share of problems but over and above that, we as players have a role to play to make sure cricket is sustained in Zimbabwe currently and for future generations to come. In light of this we have requested an advance loan of US$2 million to sustain and improve the standard of cricket and welfare of players through projects over and above what ZC is doing.

“We have done the proposed budgets and sent them to Fica through Zvimba but nothing concrete has materialised but yet you keep insisting we do not participate in major tournaments and use that as leverage to make ZC sign the MoU and indirectly telling us that ZPCA can only be full members of Fica once the MoU is signed. It’s a catch 22 situation these are players' careers on the line and we need to put food on the table for our families. We repeat our plan will be guided by whoever we choose as our player's representative going forward and he will advise us accordingly.”

Earlier, Fica had said ZPCA was not their member but were only acting out of goodwill.

“ZPCA is not yet a member of Fica, but we want it to be a member (membership is on the Fica AGM for this year and Eliah has been working hard to ensure ZPCA complies with Fica’s minimum standards) and have been treating it as if it were a member out of goodwill and a shared purpose- the betterment of cricket and the lot of professional cricketers in Zimbabwe,” Fica said.

“Having said that, Fica are under no obligation to deal with ZPCA or help out Zimbabwe’s players – we do so because it is the right thing to do and because the troubles you have had are a common concern for all players.”

This however, did not go down well with the ZPCA executive committee.

They responded: “Executive Committee worked tirelessly under serious pressure to fulfil requirements for ZPCA to become a member of Fica using the information supplied by Eliah. Judging from what you are saying it appears ZPCA can only be a full member once we have signed MoU with ZC,” they said.

“Please revisit Fica's objectives, you cannot claim Fica are under no obligation to deal with ZPCA or help out Zimbabwe players when the first objective of Fica is (PROMOTE ESTABLISHMENT OF PLAYER'S ASSOCIATIONS IN COUNTRIES WHRE NONE EXIST).

“The T20 World Cup held in Bangladesh in 2014 and the coming 50-over World Cup in 2015, Zimbabwe players have signed 5% deduction from prize money to FICA out of goodwill and shared purpose even though ZPCA is not yet a member of Fica.”

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