Ireland cricketers decline central contract ahead of Pakistan series

Both Cricket Ireland and the ICA declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations

Ireland cricketers decline central contract ahead of Pakistan series PHOTO: AFP

Ireland’s male cricketers have rejected contract offers from Cricket Ireland, the sport’s governing body, as they prepare for their upcoming series against Pakistan and the upcoming T20 World Cup 2024. 

Last week, players declined the terms proposed, which included pay raises discussed after news of increased funding from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to Cricket Ireland emerged late last year.

The Irish Cricketers’ Association (ICA), representing the players, has been negotiating with Cricket Ireland on contract terms. However, the exact amount of ICC funding received by Cricket Ireland was only known in March after last year's contracts had expired. 

As a result, matches played after March 1st, including a significant Test victory over Afghanistan, were conducted under the previous year's terms, which have since rolled over indefinitely.

Cricket Ireland had anticipated early access to an additional $1.5 million in ICC funding, but this did not materialize. Additionally, increased costs for hosting matches abroad, such as the upcoming series against South Africa in the UAE, led to a revision of Cricket Ireland's budget for 2024.

The board finalized this year's budgetary plans last month, leading to delayed contract negotiations and fixture announcements for the home summer. Despite ongoing discussions, the most recent contract offer was rejected by the male playing group, resulting in players continuing under last year's terms until new contracts are agreed upon. Any salary adjustments will be retroactively applied to March 1st, the intended start date for this year's contracts.

Ireland’s cricket schedule includes a three-match T20 series against Pakistan, followed by a tri-series against the Netherlands and Scotland. Their T20 World Cup campaign commences on June 5th in New York against India, with additional matches planned against Canada, the USA, and Pakistan in America.

Meanwhile, Ireland women, who recently concluded an unsuccessful T20 World Cup qualifying campaign, are yet to finalize their contract decisions and are focusing on qualification efforts. They are scheduled to play Sri Lanka in August and England in September, with a planned series against the Netherlands now uncertain due to financial considerations following T20 World Cup qualification.

Both Cricket Ireland and the ICA declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations.