A new World Cup payment structure introduced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) initially met with some resistance from senior players but, with little bargaining power given their dwindling performance in the ODI format, they signed the contracts this week.
The new payment structure includes a participation fee of US$ 300,000–a huge cut compared to the previous World Cup in 2015–which will be divided equally among the 15-man squad and will receive additional payments based on their performance during the global showpiece.
Accordingly, the team will receive US$ 50,000 for a win in the first round. With nine matches in the first round, the players could substantially increase their earnings based on their performance in the tournament. If they manage to secure a place in the semis, the players will receive an additional payment of US$ 200,000. A place in the final will guarantee an additional US$500,000. If they manage to clinch the title—which seems a distant dream for the islanders—the team will receive US$ 1 million.
All this is in addition to the prize money they get from the tournament. If they lose, they will not get these performance incentives. And if they don’t win a single match, they will only get the base fee of US$ 300,000. The players weren’t happy with the proposed payment structure but had little power to bargain.
“They have all signed the contracts,” confirmed a senior source at SLC. The players had received 25% of the ICC participation fee until 2012, after it had first been introduced into central contracts in 2003. That payment is intended to compensate players for their image rights which are used by ICC for commercial purposes during global tournaments. Unlike before, this payment is now included in ICC’s annual grant to its members.
The Board went into a major confrontation with the players in 2013 when it initially refused to award a percentage cut, instead proposing an incentive-based bonus scheme for global tournaments. But as negotiations progressed, the players lowered their demand to 12%, and the Board replied with a 6% offer before the sides eventually settled at 10%.
According to sources, the Board had paid a participation fee of US$ 1.6 million for the last World Cup in 2015 and US$ 500,000 for the Champions Trophy in England. “What they have offered us is peanuts,” a player said on the condition of anonymity. “We weren’t even given time to negotiate the contracts”.
While most of the players have had reservations with regard to the contracts, a senior player eyeing the captaincy had promptly accepted the terms and conditions, putting pen to paper without even discussing it with the rest of the players.