Australia news June 16, 2017

Australia pay talks crawling two weeks from deadline

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The wait for a new MOU between the Australian players and the cricket board continues © Getty Images

Time is fast running out to avoid damaging dislocation to Australian cricket, after precious little progress was made in two days of meetings between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association ahead of the June 30 expiry of the MOU.

The negotiating teams for CA - led by Kevin Roberts - and the ACA - led by its chief executive Alistair Nicholson - met on Wednesday and Thursday, with plans for further discussions next week still being finalised. CA's chief executive James Sutherland is in London for the Champions Trophy and ICC meetings.

ESPNcricinfo has learnt that the two parties remain very much at odds over the fundamental of a fixed revenue percentage model for the next MOU, with CA as adamant as ever about breaking it up while the ACA seek to retain it, albeit in modified form.

This impasse means fewer than two weeks remain to reach any sort of agreement about a way forward, opening up numerous grim possibilities. These include out of contract players being left unemployed from July 1, the players' intellectual property passing from CA to the ACA's new commercial arm The Cricketers Brand, and the board consequently being in breach of many existing commercial and broadcast contracts involving the use of players.

CA is currently trying to secure a raft of new sponsors following the conclusion of major deals with the Commonwealth Bank and the alcohol sponsor CUB, while also entering the final year of its existing broadcast rights contracts with the Nine and Ten networks. Ten, this week, announced it was being placed into voluntary administration, potentially affecting its ability to bid for the Big Bash League after the current deal expires.

While the women's World Cup squad currently in England have been provided with short-term contracts that go beyond the start of July, CA has announced men's squads for the Australia A tour of South Africa later in July and also the Test tour of Bangladesh in August, without reaching any agreement on how those players might be paid. State players are currently training having been given letters of intent to offer them contracts, but have no further certainty beyond the end of this month.

"Selectors have also chosen this Bangladesh squad irrespective and independent of the status of the MOU," CA's team performance manager Pat Howard said. "We are working towards a resolution being in place by June 30 and look forward to continuing to support these players to perform at their very best on the global stage."

It is understood that the negotiator Roberts has remained totally committed to CA's original pay proposal and its dismantling of revenue sharing. But the ACA has argued it cannot progress without knowing more of the financial detail behind it - mainly how the cash being allocated to male and female players over the next five years measures up if counted as a percentage of cricket revenue over that time.

While CA has repeatedly offered up information relating to how much the players' pay will rise depending on numerous scenarios in terms of broadcast and sponsorship revenues, it has equally declined to provide an illustration of how much it thinks the total "pie" will grow over that period. At the same time, it has contended that the ACA's estimates have overinflated the amount of money available to the game from 2017 to 2023, the proposed term of the next MOU.

Equally, the ACA has sought greater detail of how pay will be broken down for domestic players in particular, but to date has only been given the "average" figures present in CA's initial pay offer. The board has argued that much of the detail sought by the ACA is commercial-in-confidence, and beyond the level of information a collective bargaining agent should be entitled to.

Greg Hunt, Australia's minister for sport, has indicated that the federal government would be willing to provide independent mediation should this dispute threaten the looming home Ashes series. Neither CA nor the ACA wished to comment on talks.

Sutherland and Nicholson spoke last week in a rare instance of direct communication between the two CEOs, but CA's chief executive and its chairman, David Peever, are now preoccupied by a raft of ICC issues. Chief among these items is work to ensure the passing of a new constitution for the global governing body that would fundamentally change the shape of cricket politics.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Wayne on June 21, 2017, 7:49 GMT

    Aussie top level players, or the fans, have never complained about underpayment. They are indeed well paid but it's all about preserving a model that protects and nurtures the next tiers down where players have made a career of cricket and develop as future top liners. We've seen what pure money does to the game in the form of the IPL. Ridiculous sums of money and scheduling that threatens to destroy the traditional fabric of the international game. Australia is an affluent country and should be able to afford cricketers a good life unlike some of the less fortunate nations. It's not about that at all. I would agree to a compromise of a profit sharing model as opposed to a revenue share IF...the bulk of revenue for CA goes to developing grass roots cricket (and our cricketing future) rather than to a top heavy bloated management/performance team that has achieved little of what it is actually paid to do.

  • paulma7115384 on June 20, 2017, 9:17 GMT

    AussieNSW the Aussie domestic cricketers reportably get twice Country Cricketers get. Try telling me its not about greed. Aussie crickers get more than most international and domentric pkayers around the world. Sorry but they behavke like poor sports and bratts on and off the field and now more of the same over money.

  • Wayne on June 18, 2017, 5:22 GMT

    Can't have money issues blurring the landscape otherwise we end up with a shameful farce such as that ruling Indian cricket where there is no pride or passion in playing for ones country. We get a bunch of over rated and over payed prima donnas who behave more like spoilt rock stars than cricketers just like the Indians and their IPL "stars". Australian cricket has always been about pride and passion. These guys just want a fair distribution of the profits of their popularity. The money top up side will always come from the Indians IPL. This is all about continuing the nurturing side of our game and spreading the wealth to ensure that the game, and tradition of cricketing excellence of Australia, continues into the future. No one has enjoyed the success of Australia and others show envy. Fact. The bleating on from the haters about current performance is a chance to drive the boot in before the inevitable rise back to the top. Enjoy it while you can. It's a temporary lull only.

  • izzido8204666 on June 18, 2017, 2:48 GMT

    I don'it think the players should be talking about money right now that they have even failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy final. Their dismal record in the past year has been one of the worst in the history of Australian cricket. Another series defeat in the ashes come next summer could be the final nail in the coffin for Aussie cricket and the focus right now should be to lift their game. However CA has to set aside enough money to improve the standards especially at grass root level and Sheffield Shield as it has deteriorated very fast in the last 5 years .The creation of additional job opportunities like High Performance Managers etc. has not helped to lift the quality and standards and has had a negative effect. The money could be spent wisely at grass root level on the cricketers who have to perform in the middle rather than on bureaucrats who are administering the game and enjoying the fruits on the sidelines.

  •   Sreenivaasan Sudharssanam on June 17, 2017, 11:38 GMT

    This is a charade.. Without the players, who'll make the money for CA? Please come to see the players.. CA, have some sense and pay them what they deserve not what you desire

  • Marcio on June 17, 2017, 11:16 GMT

    It was obvious from what Warner said during the CT that the players are overtly hostile to CA. I don't think this is the right attitude. You have to be flexible and willing to compromise in all negotiation situations. The players aren't on a bad gig. They don't have much to complain about. CA was perfectly within their rights to make public their arguments via video, just as it's OK for Warner and the players to make their case. You can't just hold people hostage. The players have that power, as millions will be lost if they strike. But just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

  • philgr8017989 on June 17, 2017, 11:11 GMT

    The ACA representatives would know that revenue sharing isn't sound business practice in anyone's book...but it's their job...they are a Union and Unions are unreasonable. However I wouldn't underestimate CA resolve in this matter. If CA (and cricket in general) don't get this right (ie no revenue sharing) now, the game will be in trouble for the next generation.

  • Cricinfouser on June 17, 2017, 5:14 GMT

    Maybe the players should be paid on performance? That would change the landscape a bit.

  • Steve on June 16, 2017, 14:32 GMT

    Aussies unceremonious loss in CT means CA is not in any hurry to settle the issue. May be, they are waiting for the Women's WC also to finish to see if the player's stand changes, especially if the don't win the trophy. Whatever the outcome of this battle between players and administrators, the scars and painful memories will last long. Very unfortunate for all concerned.

  • vijay.9533219 on June 16, 2017, 12:22 GMT

    too much hype over pay talks. a deliberate distraction to cover up CT exit.

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