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Contract dispute: Top Windies players rule themselves out

BRIDGETOWN, NOV. 24. A number of top West Indies players have ruled themselves out of consideration for January's one-day series against Australia and Pakistan because of an ongoing contract dispute, cricket officials said on Wednesday. Players had until Tuesday night to sign an invitational contract to the triangular tournament in Australia and a training camp in Barbados that begins on Monday.

``The players who did not accept the invitation ruled themselves out of consideration for this tour,'' the West Indies Cricket Board said. ``This does not prevent them from being considered in the future should they merit inclusion.''

The board did not name the players who did not sign the contracts.

The main dispute involves as many as 10 senior players who have sponsorship deals with Cable and Wireless, a telecommunications competitor of Digicel, which recently signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with the cricket board.

The cricket board said players were barred from endorsing ``a competitor of a WICB major sponsor unless he has a pre-existing agreement with such a competitor that was approved in writing by the WICB.''

The West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association finished almost 18 hours of talks last week without a resolution. — AP

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