Fired Canada Coach Suing CCA

Tue, Dec 17, '02



Jeff Thomas, dumped without explanation as coach of Canada's World Cup-bound cricket team, is suing the Canadian Cricket Association (CCA) for wrongful dismissal.

The CCA offered Thomas severance and included a release form preventing him from taking any legal action against the parent body or its affiliates stemming from his firing on Nov. 30. "As of now, I have not signed any of the documents,'' said the Australian-born Thomas, whose lawyers are due to serve the lawsuit papers this week.

The CCA immediately replaced Thomas with Gus Logie of the West Indies. But with Logie not expected to arrive from Trinidad until Jan. 10 ? that is if he accepts the position ? the International Cricket Council, the governing body of the sport, has asked Thomas to continue coaching the Canadians.

When Logie was informed by the Star last week that Thomas was fired to make room for him, the former West Indies Test star expressed shock and said he would have to re-think his appointment.

Logie recently signed a two-year contract as a coach with the West Indies Cricket Board and was loaned to the CCA until the end of the World Cup in March. The tournament begins in South Africa on Feb. 9.

Thomas was asked by the ICC to stay on in an interim capacity until the coaching dispute is resolved. "At the moment, Thomas will continue to help out the team," Andrew Eade, ICC's development manager based at Lords in London told the Toronto Star.

"We provided the CCA with financial assistance ($250,000 U.S.) to prepare the team for the World Cup and also give advice and assistance. The assistance also includes the coach's salary. We have no say in the CCA's decision on their choice of coach.

"But since we are paying the coach's salary we were surprised the CCA terminated his contract and brought on Logie without first informing us."

Meanwhile, Thomas said he had no hesitation in continuing to coach the squad. "I have been with the players for the last two years and I want to see Canada do well in the World Cup," he said.

"The players are a bit down at the moment as they have had no official word on what's going on."

The mystery of Thomas coaching the team deepened yesterday. Dr. Geoff Edwards, president of the CCA, expressed surprise that Thomas was still involved with the squad.

"What team anyway?" he said. "There is no national team. There are six players in Toronto and maybe three or four at the sessions at any one time.

"I don't know anything about it (Thomas coaching) and I have no comment to make," Edwards added. "I don't know who appointed him to do that or selected him to do it."

* SOURCE: Toronto Star.