Australia news June 4, 2012

Player strike 'a last resort' - Paul Marsh

21

Australia's players have not ruled out industrial action if they cannot reach agreement with Cricket Australia over a new pay deal by the June 30 deadline. However, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive Paul Marsh said the player union would prefer to roll the existing pay agreement forward if a deal is not finalised by the end of the month, instead of resorting to a player strike.

Talks between the ACA and Cricket Australia have so far failed to resolve the issue of the players' share of cricket revenue, which looms as the major stumbling block to a new memorandum of understanding (MoU). A new MoU was due last year but instead the existing arrangement was extended for another year as the parties could not agree on some matters, and discussions have been no smoother this year.

At the weekend, reports emerged of the possibility that the players might even boycott the upcoming one-day tour of England or the ICC World Twenty20 if a deal was not reached. However, Marsh said that while the ACA was preparing for all eventualities, it was still hopeful of a resolution with Cricket Australia and failing that, a potential extension of the existing MoU.

"That sort of stuff [a strike] is always an absolute last resort," Marsh said on ABC Radio on Monday. "I think our preferred method here, and I don't know what Cricket Australia's position is, but our preferred strategy would be to keep rolling the current deal until we can reach an agreement. Nobody wants a situation where the players aren't playing. But I guess it takes two to tango.

"Where the story has come from over the weekend, the question was put to us are you preparing for a boycott or strike action… we're preparing for everything. We're not going to get to the 30th of June and say we haven't got a deal, what do we do now? Our job is to make sure when that time comes, hopefully we have got a deal, that's our absolute priority, but if we haven't then we've got to be able to talk different options. Obviously we'll take those options back to the collective player group and we'll make a decision from there."

One issue that has held up discussions has been the move to a performance-based player payment model, although Marsh said the two parties had almost reached agreement. But the major point of contention is the make-up of the cricket revenue pool, which includes revenue streams such as media rights, sponsorships and gate takings, from which Australia's players receive a 26% cut.

"Cricket Australia pretty late in the piece have come to us and tried to take a couple of revenue streams out of that definition as well as turning one from what currently now a gross revenue definition into a net revenue definition," Marsh said. "The amount of money at stake is pretty significant and I think for very reasonable reasons we're not agreeing to that. At the moment it's a little bit of a stalemate on that particular issue.

"If you have a look at what players from a lot of the overseas type sports get it's up over 50%. So we're pretty reasonable in terms of what we're asking for. If Cricket Australia want to start to unbundle all the revenue streams and say we don't want you to have this one now ... then we quite rightly should turn around and say we want more of the high-margin revenue streams."

The prolonged nature of the negotiations is affecting the ability of the state and Big Bash League teams to finalise their playing lists, for deals cannot be confirmed until the MoU is completed. That means a longer period of uncertainty for men such as Usman Khawaja, who has been linked with a move from New South Wales to Queensland but cannot yet sign a contract.

Marsh conceded the state organisations were "screaming out" for a resolution and that the talks could be an unwelcome distraction from the business of preparing players for first-class and international cricket. However, he said he remained confident that an agreement could be reached before the end of the month.

"The only thing I can go by is the history and historically we have always got a deal done," he said. "I'm confident we'll get a deal done this time but it does take two to tango and Cricket Australia, we need to understand what their intentions are. They're firmly digging in pretty strongly here and equally we're doing the same."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on June 5, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - that would be pretty much what would've happenned as per the 1st line of the 5th paragraph. I just think it is poor form to answer in the way he did as it went straight to the Brittish Tabloids as STRIKE. == == == "If you have a look at what players from a lot of the overseas type sports get it's up over 50%" - other sports don't have the same structure as cricket where the subsidies to grass roots levels are stronger here. So I think 26 v 50% is misleading, pretty sure in the NRL the players part of the pie is much less than 26% - again due to the grass roots investment in the sport. @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - if that is true, then I think the ACA is making a greedy ambit claim. == == == Happy for the players to get their fair share, otherwise it is not a great stretch to see Oz players following the WIPA lead & choosing the "mercenary" approach versus the establishment/represent your country approach. No one wants that to happen, as it stands now, it's unlikely.

  • jmcilhinney on June 5, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    I think one thing to keep in mind here is that this is the players' official body, not the players themselves. Even if the ACA is talking about a strike, I bet that if you were to ask any individual player, at this stage at least, they would say that they were not thinking about striking. Let's also keep in mind the likely context here. While it's not clear, I'll wager that it's not the case that the ACA called a press conference to tell the world that they would not rule out a strike. It's quite likely that a journalist brought up the possibility of a strike in the first place and the ACA representative simply said that they wouldn't rule it out. If a journalist asked me a question there are a lot of things that I couldn't rule out but it doesn't mean that I'm even contemplating doing them.

  • Deep_Point on June 4, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    Of course the ACA will do a deal, there is no way the players will risk not getting picked for the W20/20 or later Australia tours, especially the Ashes. They are just issuing a "cry for help" and chucking out terms like "strike" is the only recourse they have as the current contracts come to an end. The players know that they are seriously lagging behind other countries top players, and have heard it directly from two test players in the last 12 months, (you only have to see the wealth of advertising deals for Oz TV that the players happily sign up for - KFC, Brut, Rexona, Swisse etc. etc. to give some context - i cannot remember seeing an England playersign up for anything like that since Beefy and Lamby in the 80s!)

  • Nadeem1976 on June 4, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    Greed should not overtake cricket, cricketers and management should work together to solve the financial issues. Players are who make money so australian board need to listen to them.

  • Rally_Windies on June 4, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    send in Hillare and Hunte to negotiate ........

    truth be told an Auzzie 20 year old with a development contract who has never played a Test Match makes more money than Malinga and Chanderpaul .....

    Sri Lankan and WI players are the ones who should be striking ..

    but Sri Lanka and WI are so loaded with Talent, a strike could easily end a senior player's career ....

    FYI .. the last WI strike unearthed , Roach and Russel ...and entrenched Sammy as captain ....

    A strike will only work is the ACA can guarantee that no young 20 year olds are going to jump at the chance to play for OZ and get a baggy green ...

  • on June 4, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    Retire from International Cricket and come to the IPL. Big Bucks waiting! ACB doesn't deserve you guys.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on June 4, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    As to the share of revenue issue I understood that because the WACA are proposing a development of their ground which involves retail space and apartments the players were claiming a share of THAT as cricketing income. I'm sure it will get resolved soon enough and these pointless ODI's will occur. My scheduling would see them replaced by 2 more England v SA Tests while Australia A would still come but play 3 four or five day matches against the England Lions.

  • RandyOZ on June 4, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @Madhav Vikas Sharma - I see your point, but that'd be more of a problem in India. Performance in Australia is not just about runs scored; it's about effort, teamwork, leadership, fielding, the whole package.....

  • aj_123 on June 4, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    Its good move from CA . If they boycott the series sack everyone n bring younsters . I guess the players who r threatening to boycott r the players who get enough from IPL . This performance based pay will certainly help reduce corruption as everyone will desperate to play well . @madhav CA wont b stupid enough to notice that . They will notice everything n pay according to that . If players boycott I still beleive a 2nd string Aus 11 is gud enough to beat eng .

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 4, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    i agree wid dos who say that the aus eng odi series is pointless. playing in 50 50 games will not prepare aus for next year ashes. similarly eng could have played an additional test against sa

  • Meety on June 5, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - that would be pretty much what would've happenned as per the 1st line of the 5th paragraph. I just think it is poor form to answer in the way he did as it went straight to the Brittish Tabloids as STRIKE. == == == "If you have a look at what players from a lot of the overseas type sports get it's up over 50%" - other sports don't have the same structure as cricket where the subsidies to grass roots levels are stronger here. So I think 26 v 50% is misleading, pretty sure in the NRL the players part of the pie is much less than 26% - again due to the grass roots investment in the sport. @Behind_the_bowlers_arm - if that is true, then I think the ACA is making a greedy ambit claim. == == == Happy for the players to get their fair share, otherwise it is not a great stretch to see Oz players following the WIPA lead & choosing the "mercenary" approach versus the establishment/represent your country approach. No one wants that to happen, as it stands now, it's unlikely.

  • jmcilhinney on June 5, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    I think one thing to keep in mind here is that this is the players' official body, not the players themselves. Even if the ACA is talking about a strike, I bet that if you were to ask any individual player, at this stage at least, they would say that they were not thinking about striking. Let's also keep in mind the likely context here. While it's not clear, I'll wager that it's not the case that the ACA called a press conference to tell the world that they would not rule out a strike. It's quite likely that a journalist brought up the possibility of a strike in the first place and the ACA representative simply said that they wouldn't rule it out. If a journalist asked me a question there are a lot of things that I couldn't rule out but it doesn't mean that I'm even contemplating doing them.

  • Deep_Point on June 4, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    Of course the ACA will do a deal, there is no way the players will risk not getting picked for the W20/20 or later Australia tours, especially the Ashes. They are just issuing a "cry for help" and chucking out terms like "strike" is the only recourse they have as the current contracts come to an end. The players know that they are seriously lagging behind other countries top players, and have heard it directly from two test players in the last 12 months, (you only have to see the wealth of advertising deals for Oz TV that the players happily sign up for - KFC, Brut, Rexona, Swisse etc. etc. to give some context - i cannot remember seeing an England playersign up for anything like that since Beefy and Lamby in the 80s!)

  • Nadeem1976 on June 4, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    Greed should not overtake cricket, cricketers and management should work together to solve the financial issues. Players are who make money so australian board need to listen to them.

  • Rally_Windies on June 4, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    send in Hillare and Hunte to negotiate ........

    truth be told an Auzzie 20 year old with a development contract who has never played a Test Match makes more money than Malinga and Chanderpaul .....

    Sri Lankan and WI players are the ones who should be striking ..

    but Sri Lanka and WI are so loaded with Talent, a strike could easily end a senior player's career ....

    FYI .. the last WI strike unearthed , Roach and Russel ...and entrenched Sammy as captain ....

    A strike will only work is the ACA can guarantee that no young 20 year olds are going to jump at the chance to play for OZ and get a baggy green ...

  • on June 4, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    Retire from International Cricket and come to the IPL. Big Bucks waiting! ACB doesn't deserve you guys.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on June 4, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    As to the share of revenue issue I understood that because the WACA are proposing a development of their ground which involves retail space and apartments the players were claiming a share of THAT as cricketing income. I'm sure it will get resolved soon enough and these pointless ODI's will occur. My scheduling would see them replaced by 2 more England v SA Tests while Australia A would still come but play 3 four or five day matches against the England Lions.

  • RandyOZ on June 4, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    @Madhav Vikas Sharma - I see your point, but that'd be more of a problem in India. Performance in Australia is not just about runs scored; it's about effort, teamwork, leadership, fielding, the whole package.....

  • aj_123 on June 4, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    Its good move from CA . If they boycott the series sack everyone n bring younsters . I guess the players who r threatening to boycott r the players who get enough from IPL . This performance based pay will certainly help reduce corruption as everyone will desperate to play well . @madhav CA wont b stupid enough to notice that . They will notice everything n pay according to that . If players boycott I still beleive a 2nd string Aus 11 is gud enough to beat eng .

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 4, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    i agree wid dos who say that the aus eng odi series is pointless. playing in 50 50 games will not prepare aus for next year ashes. similarly eng could have played an additional test against sa

  • zenboomerang on June 4, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    Bit of a laugh at all the over reactions... CA & the players union know that it is all just a bit of a knee jerk but at the end of the day would they drop their chances of not playing for Oz ?... lol...

  • on June 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    @RandyOZ, Performance based pay in a team game like Cricket is very harmful to the very existence of teamwork. No batsmen will be ready to throw their wicket to protect the better player on the crease from being run out. Everyone will want to score more and more, not ready to give the better player more strike. Team Unity will be at stake. That is why it has always been difficult to enforce Performance based pay.

  • on June 4, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    lol I don't understand the point of this 5 match ODI Series between England and Australia in the UK I mean these two teams will again be playing this 5 ODI Series next year so really what's the point of this meaningless series? Its just going to make it boring for Cricket fans especially the English and Aussies in general no wonder Cricket is disliked by most parts of the World, always the same matches which gets boring. I personally think the FTP should be scrapped because its a complete mess and not to bothered if this series is cancelled in fact it would be good for the Cricket fans in general. An Ireland-Australia in a 3 match ODI and T20 Series is much more entertaining than an England-Australia full series.

  • RogerC on June 4, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    T20 leagues will rule cricket in 5 years time.

  • jonesy2 on June 4, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    oh for goodness sake! learn from the NBA and AFL that it benefits all if everyone stops being so bloody greedy, works together and comes up with a deal!

  • Rahul_78 on June 4, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Looks like CA is adamant on flagging the bull with a red cloth. Established and well earned cricketers like KP and Malinga have preferred retiring from selective form of cricket and seems like money was the major part of their decision. CA need not shoot itself on the foot by loosing the work horses who are sweating it out their to earn their keep.

  • RandyOZ on June 4, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    The playwers should be on heavy performance based contracts. No passengers milking the cash cow dry (Cameron White springs to mind). If you don't perform, you don't get paid - simple!

  • jmcilhinney on June 4, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    It would be a real shame if it came to a strike but I don't think it will because I don't think anyone really wants that. Can't they just come to an agreement and boycott the ODI tour to England anyway though? I can't speak for everyone but, like VillageBlacksmith, I can't see the point in that series for either team.

  • on June 4, 2012, 9:11 GMT

    I can't possibly see how the ACA will condone a player strike. It would surely be greeted with contempt by a shrinking fan base here in Australia. The Australian cricket teams are already on the nose with fee paying crowds and subscribers. CA has all the hand, and without having read as much I believe a lot of the revenues are injected back into the cricketing community beyond the elite playing group, as it should. Australian reps have commercial viability way beyond most other athletes at the highest level in this country. ACA bargain hard, but they will lose this round I feel.

  • Meety on June 4, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    "Where the story has come from over the weekend, the question was put to us are you preparing for a boycott or strike action… we're preparing for everything" - Whilst I think most fans want the players to get their fair share & from memory 26% is where some US sports sit, that comment is just plain STUPID! I was wondering where the Pommy commenters were talking about Ozzy players going on strike. Now I know, it came from the horses mouth!

  • VillageBlacksmith on June 4, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    if it was just before the ashes, or a tour of/to India then the players may have some leverage, but not to a pointless totally out of context odi overkill irrelevance in the UK where neither side really cares, and least of all the paying public... Ian Chappell's scheduling article has got it right

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  • VillageBlacksmith on June 4, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    if it was just before the ashes, or a tour of/to India then the players may have some leverage, but not to a pointless totally out of context odi overkill irrelevance in the UK where neither side really cares, and least of all the paying public... Ian Chappell's scheduling article has got it right

  • Meety on June 4, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    "Where the story has come from over the weekend, the question was put to us are you preparing for a boycott or strike action… we're preparing for everything" - Whilst I think most fans want the players to get their fair share & from memory 26% is where some US sports sit, that comment is just plain STUPID! I was wondering where the Pommy commenters were talking about Ozzy players going on strike. Now I know, it came from the horses mouth!

  • on June 4, 2012, 9:11 GMT

    I can't possibly see how the ACA will condone a player strike. It would surely be greeted with contempt by a shrinking fan base here in Australia. The Australian cricket teams are already on the nose with fee paying crowds and subscribers. CA has all the hand, and without having read as much I believe a lot of the revenues are injected back into the cricketing community beyond the elite playing group, as it should. Australian reps have commercial viability way beyond most other athletes at the highest level in this country. ACA bargain hard, but they will lose this round I feel.

  • jmcilhinney on June 4, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    It would be a real shame if it came to a strike but I don't think it will because I don't think anyone really wants that. Can't they just come to an agreement and boycott the ODI tour to England anyway though? I can't speak for everyone but, like VillageBlacksmith, I can't see the point in that series for either team.

  • RandyOZ on June 4, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    The playwers should be on heavy performance based contracts. No passengers milking the cash cow dry (Cameron White springs to mind). If you don't perform, you don't get paid - simple!

  • Rahul_78 on June 4, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    Looks like CA is adamant on flagging the bull with a red cloth. Established and well earned cricketers like KP and Malinga have preferred retiring from selective form of cricket and seems like money was the major part of their decision. CA need not shoot itself on the foot by loosing the work horses who are sweating it out their to earn their keep.

  • jonesy2 on June 4, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    oh for goodness sake! learn from the NBA and AFL that it benefits all if everyone stops being so bloody greedy, works together and comes up with a deal!

  • RogerC on June 4, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    T20 leagues will rule cricket in 5 years time.

  • on June 4, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    lol I don't understand the point of this 5 match ODI Series between England and Australia in the UK I mean these two teams will again be playing this 5 ODI Series next year so really what's the point of this meaningless series? Its just going to make it boring for Cricket fans especially the English and Aussies in general no wonder Cricket is disliked by most parts of the World, always the same matches which gets boring. I personally think the FTP should be scrapped because its a complete mess and not to bothered if this series is cancelled in fact it would be good for the Cricket fans in general. An Ireland-Australia in a 3 match ODI and T20 Series is much more entertaining than an England-Australia full series.

  • on June 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    @RandyOZ, Performance based pay in a team game like Cricket is very harmful to the very existence of teamwork. No batsmen will be ready to throw their wicket to protect the better player on the crease from being run out. Everyone will want to score more and more, not ready to give the better player more strike. Team Unity will be at stake. That is why it has always been difficult to enforce Performance based pay.