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Mills: Players told don’t sign IPL contracts

Heath Mills has slammed the Indian Premier League contracts placed under the noses of Daniel Vettori and Scott Styris as “the worst contracts I’ve seen in professional sport”.

The New Zealand pair were announced by the IPL as new signings this week but Mills, the New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association boss, revealed yesterday that only Styris has put pen to paper and it was against Mills’ recommendation.

Mills claims the pair were subjected to considerable pressure by the IPL and New Zealand Cricket to sign otherwise the lucrative three-year offers would have been withdrawn.

“We recommended they didn’t sign the contract put in front of them and I’m not sure Daniel has signed,” Mills said.

“The contracts put in front of the players are the worst contract I’ve seen in professional sport. It is 1½ pages long, it is a MOU (memorandum of understanding), and players around the world have been signing it and they have no idea what they are signing away.

“It does not stipulate the rights they are giving away to Indian cricket. I’m concerned our guys signing it will put them in breach of their New Zealand Cricket contracts as well but we (NZCPA) and New Zealand Cricket do not agree on that.”

Mills confirmed Vettori was uncomfortable with a particular clause in the contract that stipulates that “the player is not allowed to play for any other team that may at any point in time qualify for the Champions League”.

The IPL is a domestic Twenty20 competition to be held in India in April next year, offering US$3 million (NZ$4.26 million) in prizemoney.

The Champions League is an extension of that and the plan is for the top two teams from each of the four domestic competitions in Australia, South Africa, England and India to play in a football-style Champions Trophy tournament in October next year.

New Zealand Cricket supports the sanctioned tournaments – which are in direct competition to the outlawed rebel league in India – and they hope to get two New Zealand domestic teams into the Australian Twenty20 qualifying competition.

But Mills said NZC is overlooking the fact that if Vettori signs his current IPL contract then he would not be able to play for Northern Districts if they qualified for the Champions League.

“I know Daniel is concerned about the contract put in front of him and is trying to get some late changes to it,” Mills said.

“Those guys were under pressure to sign otherwise the deal would be taken away and our advice to the players was don’t sign the MOU.

“I don’t think it is a very good contract at all. It is a 1½ page document. Our contracts are 100 pages long and people are very aware of their obligations and restrictions.

“New Zealand Cricket endorsed and supported it (IPL) and encouraged players to join it but the contract could potentially put them in breach.”

NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan is aware Mills is concerned about the contracts but he did not share those concerns. Vaughan supports the IPL and has little time for the rebel league.

Vaughan’s priority is getting a resolution to talks with Craig McMillan, who wants to accept an offer to play in the rebel league despite having signed a New Zealand Cricket contract.

Vaughan said talks with McMillan were not possible this week due to the Canterbury batsman being unwell. But the issue is now pressing because the national selectors need to know whether McMillan is available for the one-day team to tour South Africa next month.

“Talks have to start again next week because we’ll need to know Craig’s situation by the end of next week,” Vaughan said.

Categories: Cricket News, IPL News
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