Toronto Nationals and Montreal Tigers refuse to take field over unpaid wages

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Aug
8

2:08 PM ET

A player protest erupted at the Global T20 Canada on Wednesday when a second round match between Toronto Nationals and Montreal Tigers was delayed for two hours. Both sides initially refused to take the bus at the scheduled departure time from the team hotel to the CAA Centre in Brampton and multiple ESPNcricinfo sources stated that it was a protest over unpaid wages.

TV coverage of the match made no mention of the protest. Hotstar, which has the USA rights for the Global T20 Canada, initially ran a scroll that only said the match “will begin shortly” but later updated it to say the delay was “due to a technical issue at the venue.” UK broadcaster FreeSports showed a replay of a NASCAR race with no mention of any reason for the change in coverage.

Global T20 Canada made a statement via their Twitter account at 12:40 pm local time in Toronto, also making no mention of the protest. Instead, the account stated that the match had been “delayed due to technical reasons” and announced that it had been pushed back to a 2:30 pm local time start from the originally scheduled 2:30 pm, and that it would remain a full 20-over contest. A source confirmed that team buses eventually left the hotel at 1 pm.

The protest is also significant due to the involvement of Toronto Nationals, led by Yuvraj Singh. Toronto entered the day in fifth place on four points and needed a win in order to advance to the play-off stage so abandoning the match via protest would have ended their season but were apparently willing to take that risk in order to ensure their players were paid. League organizers had hosted a fundraiser on Monday night for his YouWeCan Foundation.

Rather than drawing a line under the matter with Toronto and Montreal expected to take the field after a two-hour delay, ESPNcricinfo understands the protest is not limited to these two teams. Sources have said other squads have told team and league owners Bombay Sports Limited that they will refuse to take the field for the playoff stage beginning on Thursday if their unpaid wages have not been fulfilled.

“We’re not gonna play until we get paid,” one player from another team, who asked not to be named, told ESPNcricinfo in a phone call from Toronto.

According to the league’s contract structure provided by multiple sources, 10-15% of the players’ salaries was supposed to be paid before the start of the tournament while a remaining 75% was due by the end of the first round, which concluded on Sunday. However, sources have stated that the majority of players across all teams have not been paid any money.

Sources have also stated that a protest had been planned by Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks before Tuesday’s second round match before owners managed to facilitate a 45% payment to some, but not all, players. The match wound up being abandoned without a ball bowled due to a wet outfield.

It’s the latest in a series of pay issues to have affected the tournament. A number of Canada players are reported to have been furious when their reserve prices were suddenly capped at US$7500 on the day of the draft without any explanation from organizers. Canada captain Davy Jacobs, who had set his initial reserve price at $25,000, was drafted by Edmonton Royals but withdrew on the eve of the tournament, posting a Facebook message to say he had decided to focus on his construction business instead.

Sources have also told ESPNcricinfo that some player payments from the 2018 Global T20 Canada tournament are also outstanding. Specifically, some players who were named player of the match over the course of the season have not received their award payments.

Bombay Sports Limited, the owners of the league, are also the organizers of the Euro T20 Slam, which is due to begin on August 30.

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