St John’s, Antigua – The West Indies Cricket Board announced today that a critical funding component for the professionalization of First Class cricket will be provided by the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which will contribute US$360,000 towards the annual retainer contracts for First Class players.
Following the last Board meeting in March, the WICB announced the approval of a 19 point plan for the complete professionalization of First Class cricket in the Caribbean starting with the next season of regional cricket.
As part of the plan, 15 players in each of the six territories will be contracted on a full time, year round basis. This will allow for 90 First Class players to be annually contracted joining those contracted under WICB Annual Retainer Contracts.
“The professionalization of First Class cricket in the Caribbean is long overdue and finally we have taken a firm decision to realize this. It will be a most costly venture but one which is absolutely necessary for West Indies cricket to move forward. We are exceedingly grateful to the CPL for this significant commitment towards the funding of these annual First Class contracts,” WICB CEO Michael Muirhead said.
CEO of the CPL, Damien O’Donohoe praised the development. “A fundamental part of CPL is securing the future of cricket in the Caribbean by creating a platform for the next generation of stars to showcase their talent to a global audience. Our partners at WICB are working towards getting West Indies cricket back to the top across all forms of the game and we at CPL will endeavour to play our part in that mission. The WICB approached us with this new vision, and following discussions with President (Dave) Cameron and Director of Cricket, Richard Pybus, we didn’t hesitate to embrace it,” he said.
West Indies Players Association (WIPA) President and CEO Wavell Hinds, was also positive about the development. “WIPA welcomes the contribution of the CPL to this programme, and we have also played a pivotal role in the process of bringing the professionalization of the first class game in the region closer to reality. Our members voted unanimously at our last AGM to support the initiative, and agreed to take the steps asked of them to make it happen. We see it as a great opportunity for a broader base of our membership to earn a living from the game,” said Hinds.
Under the new Professional First Class structure the contracts will see players being part of a First Class Franchise system, the details of which will be made public shortly.