Australia news June 30, 2017

How Australia's pay dispute escalated


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What is the CA-ACA pay dispute?

November 11: MoU negotiations between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) formally begin in Melbourne, with a meeting between CA's chairman David Peever and his opposite number Greg Dyer. The meeting was preluded by news that the ACA was chasing a more expansive definition of Australian Cricket Revenue - the agreed pool of money from which their payment has been drawn - to include digital revenue.

December 7: Australia's captain Steven Smith and deputy David Warner dine with CA board directors where the governing body's desire to break up the revenue sharing model is discussed. It is an evening that begins a trend of CA trying to go around the ACA to deal directly with the players.

December 12: CA sends its initial pay submission to the ACA and players, detailing plans to break up the revenue sharing model and offer fixed wages to domestic male and female players, while only offering surplus profits - capped at A$20 million - to international men (subsequently expanded to also include international women). A particular sticking point is the pregnancy policy for female players.

December 19: CA suspends pay talks with the ACA after the pregnancy clause revelations, locking the players' association's negotiating team out of a scheduled meeting at the board's Jolimont headquarters - this is the first major breakdown in pay talks between the two bodies in 20 years.

December 22: Australia's men's and women's captains Steven Smith and Meg Lanning write to the CA chief executive James Sutherland requesting that the board respects the ACA as the players' collective bargaining agent and asking that they cease attempts to deal directly with individual players.

December 27: Sutherland seeks to take some heat out of discussions by stating during the Boxing Day Test match against Pakistan that Australia's players' association and board have "more in common than not".

January 24: The ACA claims that it is not being offered substantial financial details on which to judge CA's proposal and weigh it up against its own.

March 5: Sutherland maintains CA's desire to break up the revenue percentage model while visiting India for Australia's Test tour.

March 21: Players are presented with CA's formal pay offer, which adds some detail and some adjustments to the December proposal but remains largely unchanged in its modelling and overall thrust, seeking to breakup the revenue sharing model and return wage control to the board. The offer also outlines what CA intends to do with the money raised by changing the model - expanding its media wing and investing in other new projects in addition to funding the grassroots.

April 19: Tim May, the former ACA chief executive and an architect of the first revenue sharing MoU in 1998, challenges CA to provide a more substantial case for breaking up the model.

April 27: CA's head of cricket operations, Sean Cary, one of few board employees to work closely and consistently with the ACA, quits to take up a tennis job in the United States.

May 11: Mitchell Starc insists that no Australian players will entertain contract negotiations until a new MoU is agreed upon, following revelations that CA's team performance manager Pat Howard has offered multi-year deals to the top five players - Starc, Steven Smith, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

May 12: Sutherland writes to his opposite number at the ACA Alistair Nicholson, criticising the ACA's approach to negotiations and informs all players coming out of contract that they will be unemployed as of July 1. The ACA requests mediation to move pay talks forward after numerous rounds of fruitless meetings between the players' association and the board.

May 15: David Warner further inflames the dispute by saying CA might find itself without any players for the Ashes if the two parties cannot reach an agreement.

May 17: CA's chairman David Peever rejects the ACA's request for mediation, stating that negotiations had not yet begun.

May 18: The ACA unveils a contingency fund for players left out of pocket in the event of the pay dispute going beyond June 30.

May 25: The ACA announces the foundation of The Cricketers Brand, a commercial wing of the association for the use of the players' intellectual property, which passes out of the hands of CA beyond June 30 when the MoU expires.

May 27-28: Peever rejects the ACA's calls for mediation a second time as CA again attempts to deal directly with the players. Australia's federal minister for sport, Greg Hunt, reveals the government would be prepared to provide mediation for the two parties if the dispute were to threaten the Ashes.

May 30: CA releases a video featuring lead negotiator Kevin Roberts explaining CA's pay offer to players, with another released the following week. One of the graphics accompanying the video states that the Big Bash League lost A$33 million for CA over its first five years, a claim attacked by the ACA's Simon Katich.

June 8: Warner criticises CA for the release of the videos to players in the middle of their Champions Trophy campaign. Australia would be eliminated in the first round after a pair of washouts are followed by a loss to England.

June 20: South Africa launches its new Twenty20 tournament and it is revealed that numerous Australian players, including internationals, have expressed interest in the event which will clash with the home season. At the same time it emerges that players have discussed playing exhibition matches should the dispute be lengthy.

June 21: Following the announcement of the AFL's pay deal with its players, the AFLPA chief executive and former ACA chief Paul Marsh criticises CA for endangering the international game. At the same time CA's lead negotiator Roberts goes on a national roadshow to explain CA's position to the players.

June 23: CA offers a pair of concessions relative to its previous offer - increasing payments for domestic male players and also linking all players to the capped bonus system originally offered only to international players - at the same time as sending contract offers out to all players. The ACA, angered by the offers being sent out without an MoU, rejects the concessions.

June 27: Players meet at an annual golf day in Sydney and implore CA's chief executive James Sutherland to get directly involved in negotiations. Sutherland, who has kept at arm's length from talks, arrives back in Melbourne from ICC meetings a day before the MoU expires.

June 28: Players are sent a communique from the team performance manager Pat Howard outlining arrangements beyond the expiry of the MoU, including a warning that any players taking part in exhibition matches will be banned from the Ashes. Limited talks between the two parties go nowhere substantial.

June 30: MoU deadline day arrives, and CA marks it by hardening its stance against the players, announcing that all money originally intended to be paid to out of contract players will instead be diverted to grassroots funding programmes until an MoU is agreed upon. This move enrages the players further.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fayyaz on July 7, 2017, 14:31 GMT

    I am not saying that Cricket Australia is correct in their ideology and approach, but I would never ever refuse to play for my country even if the board is not willing to pay a single penny. What is wrong with cricketers these days.

  • Peter on July 7, 2017, 9:56 GMT

    @PeterCampbell. CA was the first party to pull out of negotiations, they tried the back door approach directly with players. The ACA didn't budge because they already had an agreed model that has been successful for so long. How does CA justify a 10 fold increase in staff this past decade? With what benefit? Why not start with cost cutting at their own HQ? Over bloated, arrogant with the vision of Helen Keller as well as getting offside with the general public & media. Let's face it, they put up a proposal expecting the ACA to counter it then take meet in the middle to claim more overall revenue. Sorry, it failed big time & they are ones left with the heads scratching. Rightly so, they stuffed up, big time.

  • Xiong on July 2, 2017, 15:08 GMT

    @PeterCampbell CA are the ones who refused mediation though. They won't even share financials which is actually ridiculous given the impossibility of negotiation with necessary information unavailable to one of the negotiating parties. So why wouldn't CA want to share? I'm sure it's nice for CA to be able to make whatever financial claims they like without anyone being able to factually disprove them. Seems pretty fishy to me. Not overly surprised it coincides with Peever's appointment either. Sure, he has plenty of business acumen but he's also very much accustomed to having all the power at the negotiating table. Unfortunately cricket players fight back sometimes, unlike natural resources. If CA was open in its negotiation instead of trying to maintain its leverage ACA wouldn't have a leg to stand on, but that's not what's happening.

  • philgr8017989 on July 2, 2017, 11:54 GMT

    MS Cricket....why is Warner talking at all? Not the smartest move by the ACA having Warner represent you. LG learned that pretty quickly last summer when his advertisement about watching "cardoons" with the kids was quickly dismissed from prime time!!!!

  • Prem on July 2, 2017, 5:36 GMT

    This is unfortunate. Steve Smith has also failed to show leadership off the field as he has failed to do on the field. Why is Warner talking more than Smith? The ACA was trying to win over the public in the media but it has backfired. A union is great to have, however they have to be able to negotiate reasonably and the current members in the ACA have failed miserably,

  • Scott on July 2, 2017, 5:27 GMT

    Its an honour to play for your country, not a privilege...

  • Jay Gadsdon on July 2, 2017, 0:37 GMT

    With test series increasingly becoming 1sided with minimum tour games. Pointless ODI's and T20 exhibition matches. The international calendar may just follow soccer after all its india eng

  • philgr8017989 on July 1, 2017, 23:34 GMT

    The ACA are the ones not willing to budge on 'revenue share'. Everyone knew the ACA would drag this out to 30 June and beyond - wanting CA to crack. It wouldn't matter what CA offered (unless nothing changed at all) the ACA was always going to promote propaganda to the public and sadly, its members. The problem with Unions is that there is rarely commonsense, rarely the ability to look at two sides to a story. Notice how Dyer et al are coming out and criticising individuals from CA - he is the biggest target of all with his history - zero credibility.

  • izzido8204666 on July 1, 2017, 12:31 GMT

    The current administrators in Cricket Australia and those who pick the team have not discharged their duties in the interest of Australian cricket and as a result have suffered serious consequences in recent years. The current pay dispute is a very good example where CA has failed in it's duties to sort out this mess tactfully and amicably with the ACA and has acted in a draconian manner losing the faith and trust of the players. Now that the deadline is over for players to sign the contracts the situation has only aggravated into a farce with neither side prepared to give in to solve the dispute. If the players are happy to sacrifice their pay to help cricket at grass root level CA should be more than happy to do so. However money seems to be the big question while the the quality and standards have declined considerably. Even if a solution is found now I reckon Aussie cricket has not only suffered enormous damage but also it's reputation as a great cricket cricketing nation.

  • dwowor8664332 on July 1, 2017, 11:32 GMT

    "The offer also outlines what CA intends to do with the money raised by changing the model - expanding its media wing and investing in other projects", yeah this supposed other project basically means filling their own pockets. What use is expanded media wing going to do when there's no players left to represent the country because a redundant board wants more money for itself rather than the money actually going to the players who actually deserve it.

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