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Pakistan players reluctant to sign central contracts, ask PCB for bigger share in their digital rights

Pakistani players are reluctant to sign a long-term central contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after differences over sale of licensed digital rights of players between the two parties.

Though the last set of central contracts of the players expired on June 30, the PCB has so far not been able to convince them to sign the new contracts.

The Pakistan squad has already reached Sri Lanka for its One-Day series against Afghanistan and for the subsequent Asia Cup.

A reliable source close to the players said the dispute centered around the demand of the players for a bigger share and say in the sale of their digital rights, handled by the board.

“The players’ point of view is that other cricket boards either are not involved in the sale of players digital rights/NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) or have a proper agreement with them on the sharing of revenues from this avenue,” the source said.

He said with companies like Rario headed by two Singapore-based Indians or Dream Sports paying good money for the sale of sports NFTs of players, including image, clips and sound bites, the players wanted the board to give them either independent rights to negotiate or a bigger share from the earnings.

The PCB apparently gets revenues from the ICC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for giving the digital/online rights of players images, clips and sound bites for the events held under the aegis of these bodies.

The PCB is said to be also earning from the sale of digital rights of the players from the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“The PCB does give the players a share from their digital rights sales but the players feel it is not enough,” the source said.

The sale of sports NFTs have become a major earning source in the cryptocurrency market with Rario recently investing nearly $120 million.

NFTs are known as digital collectables and a global base of 250 crore cricket fans with a desire to own digital artifacts, the mementoes of their favourite players have become a big market to earn revenues.

The sale of NFTs is authenticated through blockchain technology.

The source said the PCB had proposed a three-year central contract for the players who were reluctant to accept this term.

“Though the board had nearly doubled the monthly central contract retainers and increased the match fees, the players want a bigger share from the sale of their digital rights and even increased share from what the board earns from selling broadcasting rights,” he said.

At present, a senior PCB official is in Sri Lanka holding negotiations with senior players and trying to convince them to sign their contracts which the board has designed.

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