Australia players face being out of contract as pay dispute rumbles on

Australia players face being out of contract as pay dispute rumbles on

Australia’s leading players will be out of contract on July 1 after their union and Cricket Australia failed to reach an agreement in their pay dispute.

CA is determined to replace the existing revenue-sharing model with new contracts as part of a wider restructure of remuneration throughout cricket but resistance from the Australian Cricketers’ Association has been strong.

The ACA was offered an increased amount of surpluses to include men’s and women’s domestic players, as well as international players, but described the deal as unacceptable and an unwanted stand-off, just months before an Ashes series Down Under, is now in the offing.

Steve Smith stands in the field with his hands on his knees during an Ashes Test match

An agreement needed to be reached by the end of June and now CA has confirmed the impasse will continue into July.

It is still a stretch to think the Ashes series itself will come under threat, such is the status and financial worth of that historic contest, but vice-captain David Warner publicly raised those stakes in May saying “they (CA) might not have a team for the Ashes” and suggesting leading players would seek Twenty20 domestic deals – including in England’s Natwest T20 Blast – if they effectively became unemployed.

Players face not being paid and the board is concerned it will result in “significant financial and emotional strain on them and their families”.

The statement read: “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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

CA remains resolute that the fixed revenue share model must change in the broader interests of cricket. It continues to believe that a new MOU can be agreed in the near future if the ACA is prepared to acknowledge the magnitude and pace of change that is occurring and come to the table with a genuine spirit of flexibility.

“CA urges the ACA to do so with a renewed sense of urgency in the best interests of players and the game.”

In response, ACA president Greg Dyer accused CA of harbouring “little genuine intent to negotiate at any stage over the last seven months, on terms other than its own”.

Refusing offers of flexibility and to attend mediation says a lot,” Dyer said.

“As does the refusal of the CA CEO (James Sutherland) to be involved. It says they weren’t fair dinkum. It’s been a case of divide and rule from the start and when that failed the threats started and haven’t stopped. All of which has failed.

“It’s quite incredible. Reasonable young men and women have been set upon by their employer with tactics not seen before in Australian sport. So given they will be unemployed the players have to consider how best to respond.”

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said an emergency executive meeting had been called for Sunday and that the union had set aside funds “to help players who need to pay their bills”.

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-4653922/Australia-players-face-contract-pay-dispute-rumbles-on.html

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