Australia news July 12, 2017

CA chairman Peever's attack doesn't derail talks

ESPNcricinfo staff

CA chairman David Peever has offered stinging critique of the ACA's methods © CA

Talks to end the pay war between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) have continued despite an inflammatory intervention of CA chairman David Peever.

Progress between the two parties, led by the chief executives James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson, was seemingly put at risk by a Peever column in the Australian in which he attacked the ACA and repudiated reports questioning his motives.

But ESPNcricinfo has confirmed that Sutherland, Nicholson and their respective negotiating teams did not break off from their efforts to end an impasse now damaging both sides of the dispute.

It was against the backdrop of renewed talks that Peever underlined just how deep the divide between the two parties is.

In his column - the first time his views have been made public - Peever defended what he felt was "a very generous offer" made to the players and hit out at the way in which CA has been depicted in recent weeks.

"It includes healthy pay increases for male players," he wrote, "A more than 150 per cent increase in pay for female players and gender equity in both pay and conditions, along with a share of any surplus for all players and major increases in other support and benefits.

"The ACA has responded by not only rejecting that proposal (and recent concessions) out of hand, but by launching a campaign of such sustained ferocity that anyone could be forgiven for thinking CA was proposing the reintroduction of slavery.

"Not content with that level of overreaction, the ACA has gone much further, refusing to allow players to tour, threatening to drive away commercial sponsors and damage the prospects of broadcast partners, lock up player intellectual property into its own business ventures, and even stage its own games. It's a reckless strategy that can only damage the game and therefore the interests of the ACA's members."

Peever's words reaffirm the strength of feeling between the sides but they appear on the back of a meeting between James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson, the chief executives of CA and ACA respectively, which also signals the urgency with which both sides want to resolve the dispute.

CA wants to break up the fixed revenue percentage model that has been a part of all MoUs between board and players since 1998. The board argues this will allow it to spend more money at grassroots level. The ACA want to keep the existing model because, they feel, it protects the interest of domestic and women cricketers.

"CA and the state and territory associations are responsible for the health of the entire game, not just the elite level where more than 70 per cent of the game's total revenue is presently directed," Peever wrote. "We also have a responsibility to ensure that a fair share of the game's resources is directed to other levels, including junior and grassroots cricket, where it is most sorely needed."

Peever strongly denied that "CA has been motivated by some extreme industrial relations agenda, supposedly imported from the mining industry" - in which he has previously worked.

"It has been fabricated by those seeking to portray cricket as an industrial relations battleground, and pushed out to undermine CA's case for modest but necessary changes to the player payment model.

"The suggestion that CA's push to modify the player payments model has nothing to do with genuine issues facing the game is an insult to everyone involved at CA, including other members of the board."

Peever is known to be an advocate of industrial relations reform and is often remembered for a blunt speech about the employee-employer relationship while he was managing director at Rio Tinto. He stressed, however, that he did not have any ill will towards the players body.

"Any claims that I hold contrary views are untrue. Those repeating the myth point to a speech I made years ago in a completely different context. In that speech my message was that businesses should be able to engage directly with employees and that unions should be able do their job in representing the best interests of their members without attempting to expand their mission into the realm of management. It's an uncontroversial view shared by all reasonable people. In most situations, employees actually demand direct engagement, not the other way around."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jonathan on July 15, 2017, 6:44 GMT

    @Drawly, of course they don't dream of playing to empty grounds in the Shield, but BBL or internationals would certainly catch a young lads eye, that cannot be disputed. Certainly if a young man has the potential to even be a very good state cricketer, rather than just a solid footballer who might end up playing 100 games for his club, you'd hope he didn't go down the football route for financial reasons alone, that is what this is about and incidentally, Sutherland has been pushing this point himself for a very long time.

  • philgr8017989 on July 15, 2017, 1:00 GMT

    Gold one obviously are on the ACA board

  • heathq1437344 on July 14, 2017, 20:32 GMT

    Here we go again. No CA wants players as employees and not share holders, they are trying to bypass the ACA which failed, their (CA's) empire has grown and thus expenses. They are making good profits but they have mishandled funding for grass roots for a long time, there is no need to drop (yes make adjustments) the revenue share model other than for their own benefit - thishas been made abundantly clear to many commenting on CA's poor form. But yes keep blowing the CA trumpet, just like Peever and co you are entitled to your own belief but you will not hoodwink many with this spin.

  • philgr8017989 on July 14, 2017, 11:17 GMT

    @oz.... How about this? CA acknowledge the revenue share has done the job for 19 years. The world has changed in the last 19 years...and not sure about your line of work but most industries have changed the way they do things over that time. CA identify a better way to do they change or wait for it all to go pear shaped? Best practice would be to wait and let everything go south...yeah, why didn't we all think of that Oz? You are a genius.

  • Xiong on July 14, 2017, 10:13 GMT

    Nobody would demand direct engagement with their employers over their wages if the wages they were offered were reasonable. Are they ever reasonable? Not really, unless you're in upper management like Peever. Actually, those are unreasonable too, just for the opposite reason.

  • Xiong on July 14, 2017, 10:10 GMT

    A share of surplus projected on financials that are a mystery to ACA. Good work Peever. We're all buying it.

  • drawly0432769 on July 14, 2017, 8:27 GMT

    @supratik, I hear the argument a lot about AFL pinching cricket talent but do you think increasing domestic wages would fix this problem? I do not think many youngsters dream of being a shield player playing in empty stadiums even if they could make the same money. Also the AFL grassroots investment is amazing. Programs like Auskick ensure the battle to play AFL is won before kids go to highschool.

  • drawly0432769 on July 14, 2017, 7:51 GMT

    What annoys me most about this issue is how much mileage ACA are getting with their flimsy arguments. I Can't see anything wrong with Peever's comments. It is true what he says and still people don't understand the issues. ACA's response is laughable. "forced the players into unemployment"? The players refused to tour and no one is forcing them to keep training. Mitchell Starc goes and signs with Audi and the ACA claim they have a dialogue with CA's sponsors.

  • philgr8017989 on July 14, 2017, 6:36 GMT

    At last common sense..well done 5.46 GMT. Others obviously dont know how cricket works in Australia.

  • Bruce on July 14, 2017, 5:46 GMT

    @Cricinfouser on July 13, 2017, 4:28 GMT: Explain how the ACA represents all future cricketers when you have to have played a minimum of first class cricket to become a member..? It never has never given a toss about anything that happens beneath that level so I can't see them starting now. @Cricinfouser on July 14, 2017, 2:33 GMT: You will struggle to find another model similar to this one (where players get a % of total revenue) anywhere in the world. Where revenue share models are successful such as in the NFL and NBA those associations only run their major competition and are at arms length from the rest of their sport ie they don't derive any revenue from and nor do they have any costs associated with the tiers beneath them. Other models that are in play have certain revenue streams quarantined from the pool to be shared - similar to AFL's new deal.

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