ICC: West Indies tour withdrawal ‘unacceptable’

Bikas Das

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ The International Cricket Council called West Indies’ withdrawal from its tour of India “damaging and unacceptable” on Sunday and indicated that such behavior in future would jeopardize players’ participation in lucrative tournaments like the Indian Premier League.

An internal pay dispute between West Indies players and administrators boiled over last month when the squad withdrew after the fourth limited-overs international, leaving unplayed an ODI, a Twenty20 international and three test matches against India.

“The ICC and all member boards noted that players abandoning tours have the potential to cause irrevocable damage to the sport in the jurisdiction of the relevant member board concerned, as well as enormous financial damage, which might adversely affect the financial viability of the sport itself,” the ICC said in a statement after meeting on Sunday.

“With that in mind, and in a show of solidarity, all member boards collectively expressed the view that they consider such player action to be extremely disruptive, damaging and unacceptable.”

The statement warned that “players who behave in a similar manner in the future will not only risk breaching the disciplinary rules of the relevant member board and being sanctioned accordingly, but may also put in jeopardy their ability to conclude future contractual arrangements with domestic franchises or clubs in other jurisdictions.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, which is the most powerful stakeholder in international cricket with vast revenues from sponsorship and TV deals, has suspended bilateral ties with the West Indies and also claimed $42 million as compensation for lost revenue.

The West Indies, which is among cricket boards dependent on funds generated from bilateral cricket with teams like India, has set up a taskforce to review the premature end to the India tour.

ICC chairman Narainswami Srinivasan was quoted as saying in the ICC statement that the withdrawal was a “sad chapter” for the game.

“It damaged cricket’s integrity and reputation, as well as affecting confidence within the cricket community, especially that of the fans. The ICC board was determined to address this situation and ensure such incidents never happen again,” Srinivasan said.

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