|Digicel reject Stanford 20/20 proposal |
By ZAID MOHAMMED Sports Editor Sunday, September 21 2008
THE LATEST move by Stanford 20/20 to resolve the cricket impasse with Digicel has been rejected, a development which further imperils what is being billed as a match for the richest team prize in sports history.
The Stanford Superstars face England on November 1 in Antigua in the “Stanford 20/20 for 20” which offers a prize pool of US$20 million. The event, to be seen by more than half a billion people worldwide is the climax of a week of matches also involving Trinidad and Tobago, current Stanford 20/20 champions and English county title-holders Middlesex.
The “Stanford 20/20 for 20” is the first in a series of five annual matches in the shortest form of the game to be staged at the Stanford Cricket Ground in Coolidge, Antigua. In a media release yesterday, Stanford 20/20 stated that in collaboration with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), a three-point counter offer was submitted last Thursday to Digicel in an effort to settle the smouldering dispute. The counter-offer was in response to a Digicel release to the media on September 11 detailing their proposals to settle the disagreement which has placed a cloud of uncertainty over the week of cricket activities late next month.
However last Friday, Digicel responded by rejecting outright the third offer insisting that, at no cost, they retain the same branding presence on the Stanford Superstars jerseys which Digicel currently enjoys on the West Indies jerseys as the team sponsors.
The media release stated: “Despite the fact that Digicel has no entitlements to any commercial rights at all in relation to the Stanford Super Series, Stanford 20/20 offered a significant amount of branding to Digicel at no charge in relation to the 2008 event.
“This branding included 14 perimeter boards, on field branded mats, advertisements on the big screen at matches and advertising in the tournament programme.
“Further they insist on this demand for the full five-year term of the Stanford Series.”
To back up their claim that Digicel has no entitlement to the Superstars, Stanford 20/20 stated that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the ECB have confirmed that they do not consider the Stanford Superstars team to be a “West Indies” team as the Superstars are selected solely by Stanford 20/20.
“Stanford 20/20 is not willing to gift to Digicel valuable rights to which it is simply not entitled and which Stanford 20/20 intends to sell as part of a presenting sponsor package for the Stanford Super Series,” the release stated.
The other two proposals proposed by Stanford 20/20 and accepted by Digicel were: Stanford 20/20 would undertake not to do a deal with a competitor of Digicel in relation to the Stanford Super Series; and all Digicel legal costs in its dispute with the WICB would be covered.
Describing itself as “an innocent party” in the dispute, Stanford 20/20 said they have explored multiple avenues in order to facilitate a settlement. “Stanford 20/20 took careful legal advice prior to making its counter-offer and is satisfied that the offer to Digicel addressed all of Digicel’s legitimate rights and concerns under its agreement with the WICB.
“Despite these efforts Digicel continues to insist on receiving commercial rights to the Stanford Super series which are way in excess of its contractual entitlements,” the release stated.
Stanford 20/20 accused Digicel of contradicting themselves by stating that they supported the Stanford 20/20 initiative and wanted an amicable and responsible end to the dispute yet are “unwilling to compromise.”
However Stanford 20/20 stated that they will continue to explore all sponsorship options and called on Digicel to work with the WICB, ECB and Stanford 20/20 “to make the Super Series a success rather than needlessly prolonging this dispute.”