St. John's, Antigua: The embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has insisted on a "cricketing solution" to the current impasse with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and has called for a meeting within the next two months as it battles to stave off the $42 million pay-out demanded by the BCCI.
In a letter to its Indian counterpart, WICB president Dave Cameron said it was open to "bilateral or multi-lateral discussions" on the matter and proposed the two boards submit to mediation and "other suitable form of (alternative dispute resolution) as may be appropriate", reports CMC.
The correspondence came on the deadline set down by the BCCI for the WICB to respond to its multi-million dollar claim arising from the controversial abandoned tour of India last October.
"Our position in law remains as set out in our letter dated Nov 7, 2014. Without admitting any liability to the BCCI, we reiterate our willingness to participate in bilateral or multi-lateral discussions or in mediation or such other suitable form of ADR as may be appropriate as the alternatives would be of no benefit to either board or the larger cricketing community," Cameron wrote to BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.
"We would like to propose that we (WICB and BCCI) meet at the earliest available opportunity but in any event within the next 60 days as we remain of the view that the issues between us may best be resolved through dialogue, facilitated or otherwise, with the aim of jointly coming up with appropriate cricketing solutions that will meet the legitimate interests of all stakeholders including the BCCI.
"We reiterate our position that Indian courts lack jurisdiction in this matter given the parties' agreement to submit disputes of this nature to binding arbitration.”
The WICB letter is in response to one sent by the BCCI last week stating that it had waited long enough and could no longer hold off on the multi-million dollar claim. If no response from the WICB was forthcoming by the stated deadline, the BCCI said it would “initiate legal proceedings in the appropriate forum against the WICB without further intimation”.
The BCCI had initially made the claim last November and given the WICB until the middle of that month to indicate how the matter would be settled. Regional Caribbean grouping CARICOM subsequently intervened to ask for a 40-day grace period which was granted.
However, in its letter, the WICB pointed out that the BCCI's most recent correspondence had not acknowledged the informal negotiations which had gone on between the two boards or the formal proposal it had submitted last November.
“We are surprised that your letter makes no reference to our letter dated Nov 7, 2014 or the matters to which it refers, including our formal written proposal for progressing matters,” Cameron said.
“Your letter also makes no reference to the numerous earnest but informal discussions which have taken place between our respective boards exploring possible solutions, including various cricketing solutions that are practical and fair to the BCCI and all stakeholders.”
The BCCI are claiming damages for the abandoned tour, with media rights, estimated at just over $35 million, making up the bulk of the costs. When the tour ended abruptly, there was still a One-Day International, a Twenty20 International and three Tests to be played.
A furious BCCI subsequently said it held the WICB responsible, accusing the Caribbean board for "complete disregard" for legal commitments.