Fica keen on Zim cricketers

HARARE - The Federation of International Cricketers Association (Fica) says their door remains wide open for Zimbabwe should the local cricketers apply for affiliation with them again.

In 2014, Fica made concerted efforts to help the now-defunct Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) formalise their registration with the international players’ representative board but failed to reach common ground.

In view of local players’ recent regrets over the fall out after delays in the payments of their match fees and new contracts as well as Zimbabwe convenor of selectors Tatenda Taibu’s call for a local players union, the Daily News spoke to Fica executive chairman Tony Irish on the issues surrounding the nasty fall out and the way forward.

Irish said his association invested time in their efforts to see ZPCA gain affiliation while he also rubbished allegations of an unholy alliance with the then ZPCA chief executive Eliah Zvimba.

“Yes both Fica and Saca (South Africa Players Association) put a lot of effort into assisting the Zimbabwe players and the newly-established players association in 2014. Our efforts were primarily in time all the time we put in to this but Fica also made a small financial contribution specifically to assist ZPCA to pay for an office facility,” Irish said.

“Players associations are about improving the situation of all the players not just a few at the top. We were assisting ZPCA to improve things for the national players and the franchise players at the time. When we heard that certain players wanted to do their own deal which was outside the collective arrangement, Fica decided that it no longer wished to be involved as this was against the fundamental principles of a players association.”

On the issue of an unholy alliance with Zvimba, Irish said, the accusations were baseless.

“The players themselves had appointed Zvimba to run ZPCA and we assisted him only in this capacity,” he said.

“Since Zvimba was terminated we have had very little communication with him. We are, however, prepared to work with anyone the players appoint, but if they appoint someone then they also need to support that person in his work and not undermine him in the job he is trying to do for them.”

On Taibu’s opinion that the local players should have a union that represents them and whether the formation of one would help the country in any way, Irish said that was the way to go.

“A players association will definitely assist in allowing players to focus on performance on the field. Both the players and Zimbabwe Cricket in general will benefit from a responsible and properly-run players association,” Irish said.

“The vast majority of people will tell you that this has been the case in South Africa. Well run players associations look after players in many ways and it’s not just about contracts and money.”

“As far as we are concerned, Zimbabwe currently doesn’t have a fully functional players association. If, however, the players re-established their players association and we were confident that the players are united in this then we would probably re-consider affiliation with Fica going forward.”

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