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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Cricket Australia says it’s too late to sign new MOU with players’ body

Top Australian cricketers like David Warner have firmly backed Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) in contract negotiations with the Cricket Australia (CA). The Ashes series is also under threat with no headway between CA and ACA.

cricket Updated: Jul 01, 2017 00:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Australian players including David Warner have hinted of Ashes boycott if the Cricket Australia=Australian Cricketers’ Association
Australian players including David Warner have hinted of Ashes boycott if the Cricket Australia=Australian Cricketers’ Association(Getty Images)

The Cricket Australia (CA) on Friday accepted that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) might not be agreed upon as the deadline to sign the terms ends tonight.

If the two parties are unable to agree on stop-gap measures, then more than 200 cricketers will technically be out of work on Saturday. A Memorandum of Understanding between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) was set to expire at midnight Friday night.

“Cricket Australia (CA) today acknowledged that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will not be agreed before 1 July and repeated its call for the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) to come to the negotiating table and show genuine flexibility in the best interests of the players and the game.

“CA has been disappointed by the ACA’s unwillingness to consider the sensible and necessary change CA has proposed to the fixed share of revenue player payments model,” Cricket Australia stated in a press release.

Read | Cricket Australia warns players of unemployment if MoU is not signed

The contract limbo is set to hurt Australian cricketers’ pockets deeply as the CA has decided to allocate $1.2 million per fortnight (approximately Rs 6 crore) — the money which they would have paid to the contracted cricketers — to the National Community Facilities Funding Scheme (NCFFS). “The NCFFS is an existing fund that supports the establishment of new and refurbished playing and training facilities at grassroots level across Australia,” said Cricket Australia in a statement.

Ashes under threat

Top Australian cricketers have firmly backed ACA in contract negotiations with the CA. The Ashes series is also under threat with no headway between CA and ACA.

CA made it clear their displeasure over ACA’s non-cooperative approach. “In addition to rejecting any change to the existing model, the ACA rejected out of hand and without discussion the very positive remuneration and benefits proposal made by CA in March. The proposal offers significant increases in pay and benefits for all players over the next five years.

Read | Revenue share is ‘starving’ grassroots of funds: Cricket Australia

“CA’s March offer also provides women the option of pursuing a fully professional sporting career and has been hailed as a landmark achievement in gender equity in sport.

“A week ago CA offered significant concessions in an effort to reach an agreement by 30 June. These were also rejected out of hand through the media - again without any discussion - by the ACA. Those concessions were a genuine attempt by CA to address key concerns raised by players, including the inclusion of all domestic players alongside internationals in the share of the game’s surplus.

“Over the past months CA has repeatedly sought to engage with the ACA in a genuine dialogue and to commence a proper negotiation process. It is regrettable that these efforts have been rebuffed, resulting in the current situation which CA recognises is not in the interests of either the players or the game.”

‘Financial and emotional strain’

CA was concerned about players being made to go through ‘financial and emotional strain’ due to ACA’s rigid approach. “CA is concerned that many players will be without a contract from midnight tonight and this may place significant financial and emotional strain on them and their families. It is unfortunate that the ACA’s hard line and inflexible position has not been conducive to delivering any positive outcomes or certainty for players.

“CA has also been dismayed that the ACA’s rhetoric, both publicly and directly to the players, has burdened the current generation of players with an unfair sense of responsibility for defending a decades old pay model that no longer suits the very different needs of the modern game. The existing revenue share model has achieved its purpose and was never intended to be an heirloom passed down over the decades, never to be changed.

“The pace of change in the game has never been greater and the competition from other sports never more intense. The key to cricket’s future is strong junior and grassroots cricket, an area of the game that urgently needs a better share of the game’s resources.

“CA is now asking elite players to make a contribution towards meeting this need, while still receiving very significant increases in pay and benefits over the next MOU period. CA has also committed to finding savings from across its own operations to be redirected to the grassroots,” the press release said.

CA’s revised offer on June 23

# Increase the international cricket surpluses that are shared with players (from $20M),

# Include all domestic players in the sharing arrangements, and

# Increase annual pay rises for male state players (with commensurate increases for WNCL and WBBL players to maintain gender pay equity).

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 13:21 IST

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