Australia news May 18, 2017

ACA unveils fund for 'vulnerable' women, domestic players

Australia will likely begin their title defence of the Women's World Cup amid off-field uncertainty © Associated Press

Australia's players are preparing for a long, cold and out-of-contract winter, with the Australian Cricketers' Association unveiling plans for a contingency fund to help female and domestic players avoid financial difficulty in the event of the stalled MOU talks with Cricket Australia (CA) not progressing before the June 30 deadline.

On the day Australia's squad for the Women's World Cup was unveiled with an acknowledgement by CA that the team will be paid in advance for a tournament that will conclude after that date, the players union outlined plans to aid around 200 players who will be out of contract if an agreement is not reached in time.

Clea Smith, the ACA's past players, development and personal development manager, said the plan was designed to protect the most vulnerable players. "The playing group is unified. All male, female, international and domestic players are standing together because they believe in what their position represents," she said.

"The players' position is about preserving the Revenue Sharing Model as well as understanding a need for increases in grassroots cricket. Female and domestic players are the most vulnerable once locked-out by Cricket Australia after June 30, so the [fund] will provide some financial security until a new MOU is resolved."

The Women and Men Cricketers' Assistance Plan will allow players in need to apply for financial help as and when required in the second half of 2017. International male players, whose rich salaries have been highlighted during the dispute, are not eligible for access to the fund. The fund is a response to CA's threat, delivered by the chief executive Jame Sutherland last week, that the board was not considering any alternative contract plans beyond the MOU expiry.

"We are genuinely committed to getting a deal done before June 30," the ACA player liaison manager Simon Katich said. "Unfortunately, however, the players and CA still appear to be a long way apart in the current negotiations, especially given CA are now refusing mediation. And with CA's threat last week saying that they would effectively lock-out the players after June 30, it looks as though this impasse may continue for some time yet.

"The players continue to be united with the ACA and are up for the fight when it comes to having the Revenue Sharing Model for all players - male, female, national and domestic. There is no doubt that there is a degree of uncertainty about what lies ahead given June 30 is fast approaching, so whatever can be done to ease some of the pressure on the players is welcome."

In naming the Women's World Cup squad, the CA team performance manager Pat Howard said the team led by Meg Lanning would be supported either side of the deadline. "Selectors have chosen this squad irrespective and independent of the status of the MOU," he said. "We are confident that there will be a resolution in place by 30 June and look forward to continuing to support these players to perform at their very best on the global stage."

The first tour to take place after the expiry of the current MOU is an Australia A tour of South Africa, with the former international players Jason Gillespie, Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin to be among the coaching staff. The national selectors are yet to announce a squad for that tour.

CA and the ACA remained poles apart on Thursday, following the board's rejection of a request for independent mediation in order to get negotiations moving once more. Darren Lehmann, the former ACA president and national men's team coach, has stressed that communication is key to avoiding further turmoil.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jose on May 20, 2017, 15:07 GMT

    It is just amazing.

    Here is a headline from an article published in this site SIX months ago.

    --- > Nov 17, 2016 If Australian cricket is in the middle of a crisis today, it is no small measure down to the marketing of the country's board, which has taken the game out of the dressing room and into corporate boardrooms < ---

    And now,

    From the corporate board room style to the cricketing fields, which is so incongruous to the cricketing free souls!.

    I am saying this with some conviction, since one is my profession and the other is my passion.

    Will the twain meet? Could be; since, it should be!

  • Venkat on May 19, 2017, 13:17 GMT

    As long as the players remain united , CA will not be able to force their plan . Sending second grade team to major tours will only destroy the reputation of the country . As is normal in the case of litigations , CA has to agree for mediators to hold negotiations . Of late , there is a lot of animosity in the revenue sharing model in the ICC as well as the board level of many cricketing nations , which is not good for world cricket .

  • Ronald on May 19, 2017, 8:54 GMT

    Sutherland is all about money. He cares nothing for the players or the game. CA is swimming in cash but the game is quickly losing ground domestically. Grade cricket & even the Sheffield Shield have been pushed into the background in favor of quick returns from T20 comps. Sutherland is killing cricket in Aust.

  • Andysi2416478 on May 19, 2017, 3:43 GMT

    Mr Sutherland has 1930's style of management. Top down and autocratic. He needs to understand that he works for the players not the other way around.

  • adeel on May 18, 2017, 22:36 GMT

    "International male players, whose rich salaries have been highlighted during the dispute, are not eligible for access to the fund."

    this says it all doesn't it ??

    the ACA should consider the MOU from CA first and then point out the issues and point of contention in it. just being stubborn won't help.

    i hope CA does sack the lot of them if they don't budge and get players who want to play. i'm sure there are plenty of young players around australia waiting to get a chance on half or less of what warner and co earns !

  • nmehal0608822 on May 18, 2017, 17:04 GMT

    @JOSE....P spot on's just a matter of time other national players to face the same problem.saddened to see the downfall of cricket in countries australia and england which have rich cricketing background.administrators are making the scenario worst.

  • Jose on May 18, 2017, 15:17 GMT

    A few years ago, I had been part of a committee, set up by a Business Magazine, to decide the "Most Sought After Company" for employment seekers. One of the criteria is the company's reputation as to how easy to settle wage disputes.

    If I extent that logic in CA's case, it is the most inappropriate time to have this long drawn dispute, when kids at the school & college level are lured away by other games & sports.

    They are the equivalent of the employment seekers in the business survey.

    When other games do the PULL, you do the PUSH! What a combo!

  • Izmi on May 18, 2017, 12:18 GMT

    All the support and encouragement is needed at grass root level and Shield cricket taken very seriously. There's fierce competition between the various codes to lure sportsmen to participate in AFL, rugby league, rugby union, soccer etc. and cricket seems to be losing the battle due to poor policy decisions and complacency on the part of CA. According to a recent survey cricket has slipped to fifth place in popularity among the various codes while our standards have deteriorated in recent years. In the 90's Australia had a wealth of cricket talent to choose from at least three strong teams but in recent years the numbers have dwindled enough to field just one team. The emphasis should be to afford whatever encouragement is needed at grass root level and club level devoid of favouritism etc. so that cricketers will have enough confidence in the system to pursue a cricket career. With franchise cricket affording even big money the opportunities in international cricket is enormous

  • xxxxx on May 18, 2017, 9:44 GMT

    Lehmann has the right idea: communicate. Much better than spending time and energy planning for failure.

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