C&W defends players sponsorship deal
March 11, 2005
C&W defends players sponsorship deal

As the ongoing Cable &Wireless versus Digicel telecommunications dogfight over sponsorship deals continues to divide West Indies cricket Cable & Wireless has attempted to explain its position on the issue.

In a statement Friday the company claims that “despite any claims to the contrary, its sponsorship offer to the WICB, tabled in September 2003, during the company’s 18th year of sponsorship of West Indies cricket, has never been withdrawn”.{{more}}

And Rachelle Franklin, Senior Vice President for Corporate Marketing for Cable & Wireless Caribbean region, is reiterating that Cable & Wireless, which gave up its longstanding sponsorship of cricket in 2003 will always “be there” for West Indies cricket.

Franklin said “it was recognized that the current situation as it relates to sponsorship is difficult for the parties involved and that it has created a dilemma which has put the players in an awkward position, since they have legitimate player contracts and are dedicated to the game. “

The company statement further contends that the company is “grateful for the continued support of the players and want to reiterate [its] steadfast commitment to them and to the future of West Indies cricket.” It said it is important for the Caribbean people to know that Cable & Wireless have “worked within the legal boundaries of [its] contracts and internationally accepted practice, which predates the WICB’s current team sponsorship arrangement.”

Franklin said Cable & Wireless had made a number of compromises last year to ensure that the tour of Australia went ahead and had agreed then “to come together with all parties involved to find a reasonable solution post tour”.

The Cable & Wireless executive claims that to date her company has “not been invited to sit at the table in an attempt to resolve the issues”. They therefore “continued to move forward in activation of our lawful Player sponsorships as planned, and have begun preliminary activities around our World Cup 2007 sponsorship.”

She said that as matters have continued to deteriorate, Cable & Wireless was “prepared to make other reasonable concessions in the best interest of West Indies cricket so that the South African and Pakistan tours to the Caribbean are neither compromised nor jeopardized.” This, although “these compromises will significantly reduce the value of what [they] have.”

But, with World Cup 2007 looming, for which Cable & Wireless has already signed onto as telecommunications provider, Franklin said her company had “pushed the limits of how far [it] can go without seriously undermining [its] ability to continue to support the game in preparation for the biggest sporting event to come to the Caribbean.”

In that context the company was offering several concessions. They include limiting the number of players shown visually in print, radio or television advertisements so as not to visually infer [they] are a team sponsor; refrain from using any reference to the “West Indies Team” or the word “team” in any of our advertising; and eliminate all advertising and marketing activities outside of the Caribbean surrounding any of the Overseas Tours.

These concessions, Franklin stated “demonstrate the commitment to the future of West Indies Cricket.