The deadlock between the Pakistan Cricket Board and the national team players over the signing of new central contracts is yet to be resolved ahead of the all-important Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. A well-informed insider in the board on Saturday confirmed that there were still a number of issues to be sorted out and at one stage senior pacer, Shaheen Shah Afridi had refused to sign the new central contract after the PCB denied him an NOC for the Emirates T20 International League.
“Shaheen got so frustrated at the board’s refusal to issue him an NOC that he made it clear it would be best if he didn’t sign any contract with the board and played as a freelancer,” the insider said.
The board then averted a similar situation with some other players by agreeing to issue NOCs for the Emirates League to be held in January-February.
Shaheen has secured an USD 400,000 contract for two or three years and an additional USD 150,000 for the league by marketing his NFTs online.
The insider said the deadlock was continuing even after Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the board’s cricket management committee, visited Sri Lanka to meet with the players before the start of the series with Afghanistan.
“The senior players are adamant they should get a proper share from the revenues the PCB gets annually from the ICC as its share from ICC events and secondly they want a bigger share or say in the digital rights sale of their NFT’s including images, clips and sound bites,” the insider said.
He said another contentious issue was the players wanting more freedom in signing of individual endorsement deals.
“The board has promised them big enhancements in their monthly central contract retainers and match fees/bonuses but the players are insistent on getting a proper share from the ICC revenues and also from NFTs and individual endorsements.” The PCB is guaranteed USD 33.4 million as its share from ICC events in the new financial cycle.
“The problem is that players have become more aware and sharper now of their opportunities to earn good money which is why the board has even relented to allow them to play in two foreign leagues every year besides the Pakistan Super League,” the insider said.
He said the PCB was trying to find a middle road so that contracts can be announced before or during the Asia Cup.
“The problem for the board is that if a top player decides to go freelance, the PCB will not be able to bind him to any clauses of their contracts and he will be free to do or sign contracts as he likes on other platforms.” The senior players have even informed the board that in future they would not be endorsing any products or even surrogate advertising for betting, alcohol or tobacco products.
In the last PSL and international home series the PCB and some of the franchises in the PSL accepted a number of sponsorship and kit logo deals with betting companies using surrogate advertising methods.
The players apparently have also informed the league organisers about their decision to abstain from promoting these products.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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