ICC FTP Fails To Deliver On Player Volume Concerns — 23/03/2006
The Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) expressed surprise and disappointment at the acceptance of the ICC Future Tours Program (FTP) schedule by the ICC Executive Board.
“It not only conflicts with volume and scheduling restraints that the ICC adopted as principles in the construction of the new six year cycle, but appears to fly in the face of concerns expressed previously by the ICC’s President and CEO”. Tim May, Chief Executive of FICA said today.
Upon commencement of his ICC Presidency, Mr Ehsan Mani was quoted as saying;
“We need to address the issue of volume of cricket as there are complaints, particularly from countries like India, that too much cricket is being played."
ICC’s Chief Executive Malcolm Speed stated in the ICC’s 2004 Annual Report;
"I believe that we have come very close to saturation point in terms of the volume of cricket, not only in a commercial sense, but also in respect of the demands it is placing on international cricketers.”
In the ICC’s review of the Structure of Cricket, the ICC further identified as two of the six key issues vital to protecting and enhancing the value of cricket,
1) The volume of cricket being played and the associated work/life imbalance of players.
2) The context of matches being played through the cricketing calendar.
ICC introduced Principles around which the new FTP was to be constructed, these included adherence to “FICA Guidelines” as to the volume of cricket to be played in any calendar year and qualitative periods of rest for players within the calendar years. (Guidelines detailed attached)
These have been largely ignored in the final Program.
The review of the Structure of Cricket has produced the following outcomes;
An extension of the current 5 year program to a 6 year program, which theoretically should reduce the players’ annual workload.
A reduction in the number of days for the duration of the World Cup, and the Champions Trophy, which theoretically should enable players greater rest periods
“Instead of easing player workloads, the ICC Program commits more matches to be played at the Champions Trophy, more Full Member matches against Associate Countries , a further International competition (20/20), regular 20/20 matches on a bilateral basis and allows countries to fill in any other downtime that players may enjoy with series loosely tagged as "icon series".
“In addition, the Program allows member countries to add further fixtures to the agreed program without any limitation"
“It will result in more cricket for a number of teams over the next six years than we have ever seen before.”
“The program appears to continue to demonstrate the ICC's growing lack of respect for players’ needs. When coupled with growing concerns from players and their representatives with Player Terms for the 2006 Champions Trophy and beyond, it will almost certainly produce a prolonged and unsettled industrial landscape.
“The current program hardly enhances the game and its value. More than ever we are seeing the games’ top players being forced to retire from the demands of one or the other form of the game as a result of the constant and unrelenting schedule. On top of this, injuries and forced absences to the world's blue ribbon fast bowlers are becoming more pronounced, and some teams are forced to apply rotational systems to ensure players are not flattened by these congested playing schedules.
“There needs to be a healthy balance between the commercial needs of the game and the needs of the players”.
“This Program does not achieve the required healthy balance and will only act as a catalyst for further player retirements, absences and on going dissatisfaction with the International Calendar.
“It is clear that very important decisions are being made by ICC committees which have no international cricket playing experience and appear to have no appreciation of the demands and pressures of the game today from a players perspective.
May further stated that he would seek direction from players across the World as to what actions and positions that FICA would adopt in response to the Program, particularly actions concerning player representation on ICC committees and the appropriateness of the ICC 20/20 series.