FICA chief calls for return of FTP

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 01:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ESPNCricinfo: The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has urged the ICC to consider reintroducing an FTP-style framework if it hopes to prevent player pull-outs in future. In the aftermath of West Indies’ withdrawal from India - an act both FICA and the ICC condemned as a “disaster” - the ICC on Sunday warned players who may be involved in future mutinies they could face sanctions but FICA said that will only address “part of the problem” and more must be done to ensure tours go ahead. FICA executive chairman Tony Irish questioned whether banning players from franchise tournaments such as the IPL was "reasonable" © BCCI   “We think it’s important in all circumstances that international cricket has reasonable protection against arbitrary and unexpected player action,” FICA Executive Chairman Tony Irish told ESPNcricinfo. “However if the ICC really wants to deal with the whole problem then it should look to do more than simply taking action against players.” FICA, which represents player associations around the world, would like to see member boards held accountable for their touring commitments, much like they were when a binding Future Tours Programme was in place. “A country board couldn’t just withdraw its team from a tour, or suspend future tours to another country,” Irish said. “Countries had to operate within the rules of the FTP framework.” The previous FTP made provision for tours between Full Members - theoretically guaranteeing home and away series over an eight-year cycle - and although countries were free to decide their own itineraries, the ICC had a minimum stipulation of two Tests and three ODIs for all series, except in an extreme cases like Zimbabwe, who played one-off Test on their return to the format. For example, when the BCCI was unhappy about what it called Cricket South Africa’s unilateral release of fixtures last year and initially threatened not to tour at all, the FTP was the reason India were obliged to travel for the least number of matches. Since the ICC’s restructure in April, that has changed. There is no longer a binding FTP and members can negotiate with each other to form a schedule. This has raised concerns from the less financially stable nations that they will be isolated in the new system, the effects of which have yet to be fully realised. Still, FICA remains worried that “international cricket should not be based simply on bilateral agreements” and wants the ICC to have a hand in ensuring members meet their touring responsibilities. Asked whether the threat of exclusion from T20 franchise leagues such as the IPL, hinted at by the ICC, would serve as enough of a deterrent for players to uphold their international commitments Irish said he did not think that was an appropriate sanction and could also be subject to a legal challenge. “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,” he said.