Masters Champions League fends off payments row.
Summary: MCL management clarifies that team owners are to blame for delay in players' wages
K.R. Nayar, Chief Cricket Writer
Dubai: A payments row has enveloped the Masters Champions League (MCL), which was held in UAE earlier this year with the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (Fica) criticising the MCL's failure to settle wages of players who took part in the first edition of the tournament.
The MCL management maintains that it is the team owners who haven't paid the players.
Speaking to Gulf News, Zafar Shah, the chairman of the MCL, said: "The last instalment of payments to the players had got delayed and is being made by the team owners. The team owners who are to pay the players are in contact with the players and they will be paying them soon."
Fica executive chairman Tony Irish, in a statement, had said: "Cricket is a career and, just like other professionals, players make decisions based on the contracts they sign. We hope that given the potential of this event, MCL pay the outstanding amounts to players immediately."
Irish vehemently added that since the event had ended nearly three months ago, it was entirely unacceptable that payments to players were still pending.
Legendary players like Brian Lara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Virender Sehwag featured in the event.
MCL sold six franchises for a combined $90 million (Dh330.5 million) with a pledge to pay about $5.5 million in player wages. Except for Gemini Arabians' players, none of the other teams' players have received their wages, it has been said.
According to Shah, the delay in payments is because teams are facing cash flow issues and waiting for money from sponsors.
Anis Sajan, the Managing Director of Danube and team owner of the Sagittarius Strikers, who were captained by Adam Gilchrist, said: "The statement made by Shah contradicts to the contract made between Danube and GM Sports owned by Zafar Shah. The contract clearly states that the players' payment will be made by GM Sports. Danube was responsible for only the logistics, air travel, hotel and social welfare of the players and support staff. Imran Farhat, who was not in MCL contract was brought in as (an) additional player at the last moment, so Danube made his full payment. For all others, we had no role with player payment."
However, Shah is confident that the next edition will be held in 2017 as per plan. "We will soon have talks with the Emirates Cricket Board and schedule our event. Last year we had to rush our event due to (the) World Cup and Asian Cup but next year we will stage (it) in a more organised manner."
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