The dispute between Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) based trio Rayad Emrit, Kevon Cooper and Evin Lewis and Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Suruj Ragoonath surrounding the termination of their 2015/16 TTCB retainer contracts is set for arbitration with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) taking up the matter.

Emrit, Cooper and Lewis, speaking to Newsday before leaving and during their current stints in the BPL have maintained that before the 2015/16 Professional Cricket League (PCL) commenced, Ragoonath told them in a meeting that any Twenty20 leagues that came up during the season, the players would be allowed to compete with no indication their retainers would be compromised.

Also contrary to what the TT CB has stated, they never wanted to relinquish their contracts but were rather forced to give it up and accept a pay for play contract on their return from Bangladesh.

Emrit in particular took issue to a November 15 article on another daily newspaper titled “Red Force players broke contracts” by quoting the article on his Twitter page stating: “It’s easy to point fingers at the players and say all sorts but I hope the reporters get the right story and say the truth.” Emrit elaborated further to Newsday saying, “I want the CEO or whoever that WICB source (in the article) is to come out and clear the air and say we are lying about the contracts.

The statements in Guardian article are totally misleading.

“We would not have put our names in BPL draft if the TT CB didn’t tell us that we had permission to play in any T20 league.

I don’t know about Kevon and Evin but I have informed West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds about this and I am taking advice from my lawyer on the way forward,” concluded the Red Force captain.

Newsday has been informed that WIPA president Hinds emailed Ragoonath on November 24 requesting a meeting among all concerned parties.

“In pursuit of an amicable resolution, we will be guided by the established Tripartite Agreement on all contractual matters.

Your usual cooperation is anticipated and appreciated,” Hinds stated.

During the recently concluded Red Force versus Jamaica Scorpions four-day match, a local player who wished to remain anonymous told Newsday that what Emrit, Lewis and Cooper have said is accurate.

In the Guardian article that allegedly quoted a WICB source, it mentioned the area in the players’ contracts which deals with players playing cricket overseas during their retainer, which supposedly highlights why the players broke their contract: “The Cricketer shall not enter into any Overseas Contract without first obtaining a release and No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Franchise, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

If the Franchise does withhold its release and NOC it shall provide the Cricketer with reasons for such decision. It is acknowledged that the MOU seeks to provide for a standard NOC which shall be used by the Franchise and the Cricketer in these circumstances.” This quote was taken from page 8, section 9.2, of the 14 page contract that is also in Newsday’s possession. Just below it in section 9.3 however states: “The cricketer herby agrees to the deduction from his monthly retainer as provided for in the MOU being made from his remuneration relating to his release and issue of an NOC (No Objection Certificate).” A WICB source revealed to Newsday that all three players requested and received NOCs from the WICB. The WICB is the sole regional body recognised by the ICC with regards to NOCs.

Asked to clarify that part of the contract which seemingly suggests that the TT CB could have instead reduced the trio’s wages during the three matches they would be absent against Jamaica, Guyana and Windward Islands, CEO Ragoonath defended the board’s position.

“The termination of contract was mutually agreed, if that wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be in Bangladesh at the moment.

I don’t know what gave them impression from meeting they were free to play in any T20 league just like that,” Ragoonath said.

“I want media to ask players to put themselves in our shoes.

If you sign someone to play a season who you thought was 100 percent committed, how they would feel if suddenly the plans are adjusted by a player who wanted to go to these overseas leagues and a replacement for remainder of season has to be found? “Once they acknowledge their availability on return, they will receive pay as you play contracts.”


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