England players reject multi-year contracts to remain available for franchise cricket

The primary aim of these multi-year contracts was to mitigate the risk of players declining white-ball tours

By Web Desk
September 18, 2023
England at the 2022 T20 World Cup - AFP

England cricket stars have declined multi-year central contracts offered by the ECB in order to show their availability for lucrative T20 franchise deals.

Discussions have been ongoing with England players in anticipation of the upcoming Cricket World Cup in India, scheduled from October 5 to November 19.

As per the Telegraph, negotiations have hit a snag regarding the multi-year central contracts, primarily because the initially proposed contract did not include an expected increase in match fees.

Expectations are that discussions will continue between the ECB and the Team England Player Partnership, who are managing the players' negotiations.

It is rumoured that the ECB is prepared for players to reject multi-year contracts, as many prefer to sign year-to-year deals, allowing them the flexibility to entertain offers from T20 franchises.

Back in July, Mail Sport reported that the ECB had been exploring the possibility of offering multi-year deals to a select group of players, following England's managing director Rob Key's advocacy for such contracts.

The primary aim of these multi-year contracts was to mitigate the risk of players declining white-ball tours in favour of participating in T20 franchise competitions.

In a recent report, Mail Sport disclosed that the ECB had abandoned plans to raise match fees for England's male cricketers, opting instead to provide up to eight two-year central contracts to their top-performing players.

Originally, the ECB had intended to boost match payments in line with the start of the World Cup, but financial constraints have led to the postponement of the pay increase until at least next year.

The new plan was to offer up to eight two-year contracts to select players, potentially worth up to £ 800,000 per year.

Notably, Harry Brook was identified for a longer contract due to his age and his significance to the team across all three formats. Additionally, Ben Stokes, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, and Mark Wood were reportedly in line to receive two-year deals.

This strategic shift came after Alex Hales, Sam Billings, and Liam Dawson chose to skip England's white-ball tour of Bangladesh in March to participate in the Pakistan Super League.

Wood, in particular, has committed to next year's ILT20 in the UAE, which could affect his availability for England's five-Test series in India.

If successful, the ECB may consider offering three-year contracts in the subsequent years.

The ECB's approach to match fees was influenced by their recent announcement that England's female players will receive equal pay to their male counterparts going forward. This translates to approximately £3,500 for T20Is, £5,000 for one-day internationals, and £12,500 for Test matches.

Previously, England's female players received approximately 25% of the male players' fees for white-ball games and 15% for Test matches. However, there remains a significant disparity in the value of their central contracts, which range from £100,000 to £800,000, respectively.