The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) is the official player representative body for cricketers in the West Indies, and is an affiliate of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA).
As the exclusive representative and bargaining agent of players selected for national and West Indies teams, WIPA is the authorized and collective voice of all West Indian players, past and present. WIPA’s goals consist of; seeking better remuneration for players; seeking player welfare and interests to prepare them for a life after cricket; providing players with advice, assistance and services where appropriate; having players involved in community activities, training, and leadership in the areas of financial management, communication and industrial relations; and promoting a positive and harmonious relationship with the WICB and other stakeholders.
WIPA was established in 1973, and incorporated in 2003 under the Companies Act of Trinidad and Tobago 1995. The association was established during a visit to the United Kingdom by the then West Indies cricket team. Sir Garfield Sobers, Lance Gibbs, Rohan Kanhai (captain), and Deryck Murray comprised the earliest committee members, with the latter two serving as the initial President and Secretary, respectively. Since then, there have been numerous players who served as WIPA Presidents, Rohan Kanhai, Courtney Walsh, Dinanath Ramnarine and Wavell Hinds.
The raison d’etre for its establishment has been to serve as the West Indian players’ representative body. WIPA was established in an era when territories were still under British rule, and cricket, like other institutions, was managed and controlled by the plantocracy and the ruling “white” class. The then cricket board administration saw the emergence of this unionized body of cricketers as an attempt to whittle down the monopoly it exercised over the players. As such, there were veiled threats to players contemplating joining the body. Players were indirectly told that joining the body would mean jeopardizing their position as players, with the possible consequence of being ‘dropped’ from the team. Nevertheless, players recognized the need for a body that would serve players interests and well being and soldiered on.
Today & The Way Forward
Former West Indies player and former President of Cricket West Indies, Rev. Wesley Hall, set relations between players and the WICB on an industrial relations platform. The association has sought to ensure that this is enshrined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
WIPA maintains stern positions on matters relating to the welfare of players.WIPA places great emphasis on governance because only when governance improves, will Windies cricket improve.