NEWS

Cricket stars fume, wait to be paid for Toronto event

05/14/2012 08:37 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT

A group of international cricket players say they are still waiting to get paid after participating in a marquee event in Toronto this past weekend.

The event took place at Toronto’s Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon and saw two teams made up of international players square off against one another.

Billed as a way to promote cricket in Canada and Canada to the world of cricket, the 20-overs match featured players from more than a half-dozen countries including Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and Zimbabwe.

And while the players put on a good game in Toronto, several suggested to CBC News that they would be unlikely to return to Canada any time soon as a result of the non-payment issue.

“It is not good for Canada and not good for Canada and cricket,” said Sanath Jayasuriya, a veteran player from Sri Lanka who spoke to CBC News about the situation.

Jayasuriya said he was to receive $15,000 to play in Toronto, as well as additional funds to cover his flight from Sri Lanka.

“I’ve been playing for the last 20 years and never gone through this kind of thing before,” he said.

The event at Rogers Centre was organized by Kat Rose Inc., a Toronto company that claims on its website to have organized prior events in South Africa and in the Greater Toronto Area.

Herb Choga, the president of Kat Rose, said that several superstar players from Pakistan pulled out of the event at the last minute.

When that happened, a rush of fans in Canada returned their tickets and investors pulled out, Choga said.

Choga told CBC News that he will do what he can to ensure that the players get their money.

“I’ll make sure that they do, like, I’ll try my very best to make sure that these guys get paid,” he said.

The event was sanctioned by Cricket Canada, the sport’s governing body in Canada.

Choga has pleaded for Cricket Canada to help.

But Doug Hannum, the CEO of Cricket Canada, said that his own organization has also been left without funds they expected to receive.

“We took on considerable expense for this event as well and we have not been paid,” Hannum told CBC News.

He said that Cricket Canada won’t be paid until the players get paid first.

Hannum called the incident a national embarrassment at a time when Toronto is preparing to host the Pan Am Games with cricket as a main event.

MORE:cbcNews