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June 22, 2012
A performance-based payment model is at the centre of a new five-year agreement between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association. The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on Friday, is the longest deal ever struck between Cricket Australia and the players, and it has ended any threat of strike action from the players during their ongoing tour of England.
A major feature of the new agreement is a reduction in the number of national contracts to be handed out each year, which was recommended in the Argus review of the team's performance. In the past, 25 players have been given Cricket Australia deals each year but that number has been cut to 17-20, at the discretion of the selection panel, and for the 2012-13 season only 17 men have been signed.
Players can still earn an upgrade to a national contract during the year, if they accumulate enough appearances for Australia during the contract period. To compensate for the return of several international players to the state system, states will be allowed to contract 18 to 20 players, up from 14-18 last year, and their payment pool has been increased.
But the slice of cricket revenue the players will receive will be dependent on the performance of the national side, with bonuses available should they win matches, tournaments, series or reach the top of the ICC rankings. In the past, the players have been given a fixed share of 26% of cricket revenue but that has been shifted to a sliding scale.
The players will start the contract period at a base level of 24.5% of cricket revenue but that will gradually rise with every victory and series triumph, and could reach as high as 27%. James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said the deal would ensure players were rewarded for strong output.
"We are pleased with the agreement we have reached with ACA," Sutherland said. "We all want Australian cricket teams to be successful and this agreement will greatly enhance the likelihood of success over the coming years.
We believe that this agreement and its player payment model strikes a strong balance - players are well rewarded for playing senior representative cricket within a system that emphasises accountability for performance and ensures the right players are receiving the right payments at the right times."
Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the ACA, said the players had unanimously supported the new agreement.
"The significant outcome here is we've got a five-year deal, so we can both concentrate on other issues now for the next five years, which is great for Australian cricket and great for the players," Marsh said. "The deal from our perspective is one that we're very happy with. The players wholeheartedly support this. We took this to the player group for final ratification and the vote of the players was 100% in support of the deal we have got, so every single player voted in support of it."
Player contract values and match fees will also increase as part of the deal, with the minimum Cricket Australia contract set to rise from $160,000 to $230,000. State contracts will range between a minimum of $50,000 and a maximum of $150,000, up from $40,000 to $115,000 last year.
Marsh said the ACA was especially pleased that the deal would help past players as well as the current group. As part of the new MoU, the ACA will receive 26% of Cricket Australia's net revenues from the 2015 World Cup to help develop a past-player and game-development legacy programme.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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