Johannesburg: Federation of International Cricketers' Associations has objected to ICC's threat of banning players in future from Twenty20 leagues for West Indies-like pull-outs, saying that individual cricketers should not be penalised for a collective action.
FICA agreed players should be deterred from collectively deciding to abandon a tour, especially mid-series, like the West Indies cricketers did recently against India, but penalising them by denying them to play in IPL-like T20 leagues outside their countries will not solve the problem.
"Without judging the West Indies situation, we think it's important in all circumstances that international cricket has reasonable protection against arbitrary and unexpected player action. FICA, like the ICC, believes players should be deterred from collectively deciding to abandon a tour, especially mid-series. But this looks to deal with only part of the problem," FICA Executive Chairman Tony Irish said in a statement.
"... Any action against players I'm not sure that effectively banning any individual from a T20 league is a reasonable way to punish collective action taken in another context and such ban may well constitute an unlawful restraint of that player's employment rights. We hope that won't happen," he said.
"If the ICC really wants to deal with the whole problem then it should look to do more than simply taking action against players," said the South African. Irish rued the current non-binding nature of the FTP and said that international cricket should not be based simply on bilateral agreements.
He said the ICC should work out some FTP-style structural framework which does not allow tours being aborted by member Boards.
"The recent de-regulation of the FTP has unfortunately taken the playing schedule out of the structural framework and rules which used to exist for international cricket. In the past, when the FTP rules were applied, a country Board couldn't just withdraw its team from a tour, or suspend future tours to another country. Countries had to operate within the rules of the FTP framework," the FICA boss said.
"So, we think the ICC should also look at how it can re-introduce some kind of framework rules for the FTP which the ICC can effectively apply and enforce. International cricket should not be based simply on bilateral agreements," he said.
Since the ICC's restructuring in April, there is no longer a binding FTP and members can negotiate with each other to form a schedule. In the aftermath of West Indies pulling out of India tour after a pay dispute between the players and their Board, the ICC had said that cricketers could be penalised if there was similar action in the future by disallowing them play in T20 leagues in other countries.
"Players who behave in a similar manner in future will not only risk breaching the disciplinary rules of relevant Member Board and being sanctioned accordingly, but may also put in jeopardy their ability to conclude future contractual arrangements with domestic franchises or clubs in other jurisdictions," the ICC had said after its recent board meeting.