Former international captains Lisa Sthalekar and Graeme Smith were appointed as Independent Board Members of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) at the FICA annual meeting held in Cape Town between 10-12 October. The meeting covered a wide range of issues that are important to players and the game globally. The meeting was attended by FICA president and former West Indies player Jimmy Adams, former Australian and South African captains Lisa Sthalekar and Graeme Smith, FICA Board Members and Head of UniWorld Athletes Brendan Schwab.
International Cricket Structure
The Board held lengthy discussions on the significant issues around the structure of international cricket. The discussions were guided by FICA’s 2016 International Cricket Structural Review, player insights, player surveys and FICA’s ongoing dialogue with the ICC and the ICC Member Boards.It was resolved that FICA will continue to play an active role in discussions at all levels, with the objective of ensuring that the games’ governing bodies deliver a better structure that is fit for purpose, acknowledges the changing landscape of professional cricket and allows players’ career self-determination, giving them the opportunity to represent both club and country around the world. Commenting on the structure of international cricket, Graeme Smith said: “players around the world are trying to build successful careers in a game that is rapidly changing. It is our role to ensure that players’ interests are protected, that players are a part of guiding the direction of the game and ensuring that structures and schedules are as good as they can be.”
The Board agreed that FICA should assist, guide and lead the development of associate country players setting up new associations in their countries. In addition, it was agreed that FICA would, as a matter of priority, look to assist the Indian professional cricketers to develop their association, as recommended by the Lodha Committee and mandated by the Indian Supreme Court. FICA will explore all relevant avenues open to it to assist and to make a valuable contribution in this process, which it believes will be a positive for the players in India and for the game in India and globally.
Women’s Cricket and FICA
Following the decision taken at the 2015 FICA annual meeting that both male and female players should be represented, the Board welcomed the appointment of Lisa Sthalekar as an Independent Board Member. Commenting on her appointment, Lisa Sthalekar said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the FICA Board, and am looking forward to playing an active role around the FICA Board table. Women’s cricket is the fastest growing part of the game and ensuring all players are represented globally will be a huge positive for players and the game.”
The Board discussed a number of cases of systematic non-payment of players and the shortcomings within the international contract structure. It was highlighted that the potential exists for this system to get worse. The Board mandated continued efforts to protect players fundamental employment rights. In addition, the Board resolved to ensure that any unreasonable labour market restrictions are not imposed on players, and that artificial restrictions on player movement should not be viewed as a quick-fix solution for structural imbalances in the game.
Player Welfare and Integrity
The Board received two presentations from key players’ association staff on the twin issues of player welfare, wellbeing and career transition and anti-corruption and integrity. The Board agreed that it is vital that players’ associations, both individually and collectively play a formal role in all areas of player welfare and integrity issues. Specifically, FICA urges the ICC and ICC Member Boards to formally agree to partner with player collective representatives in the fight against corruption.
Commenting on the outcomes of the meeting, Tony Irish, FICA Executive Chairman said: “the FICA Board has endorsed our operational direction and has mandated our Executive to continue to make a significant, evidence based, considered and professional contribution for players in the game. FICA will continue our efforts to build relationships around the world with the ICC, Member Boards, MCC, league owners and other key stakeholders in the game to ensure that the global cricketers’ voice is heard.”
Media Release from FICA