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FICA threatens to take legal action against MCL

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MCL Champions
MCL Champions. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) is threatening legal actions against the Masters Champions League (MCL), the T20 tournament for the retired cricketers. MCL was intended to play over the next two years, but now FICA is threatening to disband the league on behalf of up to 50 players over “the systematic non-payment of players.”

The GM Sports, headed by Zafar Shah confirmed the players’ intentions to sue the organisers over unpaid fees. Tony Irish, the executive chairman of FICA, also called for the formation of “an an international dispute resolution body and contract enforcement mechanism in cricket.”

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“It’s pretty obvious the organisers of the MCL have lost credibility,” Irish told ESPNcricinfo. “The failure to honour contracts sends a strong message. It is not a straightforward process to bring legal action, but we ensured there were proper player contracts in place and we are looking to coordinate a class action on behalf of 40 or 50 players.”

“We have given the organisers several deadlines and these have not been met. If they want to hold an event next year, they have a lot of ground to make-up. I think players will look at what happened in the first year and draw their own conclusions.”

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“Despite several undertakings from Mr Shah that outstanding player payments would be made, under a payment plan proposed by MCL, many players have still not received payments due to them several months after the event. Some players have received less than 25% of their fee for an event that finished in February.”

“It’s also extremely disappointing that the event organisers have now taken to simply ignoring attempts by FICA, players and player agents to address the situation.”

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Complaints on nonpayment from players began in Dubai as soon as they gathered for the inaugural match, as they were promised payment on arrival. Three of the six teams that were involved in the first edition of the tournament had no clear ownership structure, with no franchise papers signed. The terms of the contracts of the players say that the organisers of the tournament, GM Sports had guaranteed to underwrite all agreements.

Clive Hitchcock, the ICC’s senior operation manager admitted having approved for the tournament in an email sent to boards in January. In it, he had stated: “Our decision not to issue a Disapproved Notice was based on the application from MCL which clearly stated that it was an event for retired players only.”

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