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Pay negotiations shudder to a halt

Daniel Brettig

March 28, 2011

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

South Australia celebrate after winning the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash final, South Australia v New South Wales, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash final, Adelaide, February 5, 2011
The concept of private investment in the Twenty20 competition was a concept foreign to Australian cricket until the possibility was raised by the IPL © Getty Images
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Urgent negotiations over the next wages agreement between Cricket Australia and its players have shuddered to a halt, with both sides admitting they had reached a significant impasse. "At the moment there is no scheduled next step (in negotiations)," a Cricket Australia spokesman said.

There has seldom been a worse time for an industrial dispute, as the finalisation of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the next five years must occur before the board and players can push on with much-delayed plans for next summer's domestic Twenty20 competition. The matters at issue are weighty, and each side has a valid case to press for their respective share in new revenue to be generated over the period of the new agreement.

Chief among them is the money generated from private investment in the Twenty20 competition, a concept foreign to Australian cricket until the possibility was raised by the unbridled free market economics of the Indian Premier League. While the board is adamant that such money should be used as an investment into the game's grassroots, the players deem it revenue and as such a part of the 26% of total windfall the players have been entitled to.

Paul Marsh, the Australian Cricketers Association chief executive, said the players' payments fluctuated based on the total amount of money in the game, so they were entitled to expect a share of new income. "We talked through our different positions, now we're going to go away and have a look at what Cricket Australia have on the table - nothing was resolved," Marsh told ESPNCricinfo.

"Private investment hasn't been included in previous MOUs, and the value in the private investment comes from the players themselves, and from our perspective the players should have the benefit of 26% of Australian cricket revenue.

"The 26% figure doesn't change when times are good or when times are bad - if Australian cricket gains a windfall from private investment then the players should get a share in that."

Another point of stalemate is the construction and sale of a bevy of new apartments overlooking the WACA ground in Perth. Marsh said the players were entitled to a share in returns from the project. "Our view, and this is also backed by a leading accounting firm, is that we are already entitled to the money from the WACA," he said.

Some have suggested that Australian players should be in line for a pay cut rather than a pay rise following a summer of desperately poor results in the Ashes and the World Cup. The board, however, rejected that idea, with a CA spokesman saying it was "fair and reasonable that they should have a healthy share of revenue from the game".

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor with ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by David47 on (March 30, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

Yep, I agree with the other comments here - the money (all of it) should go to developing our game at the grassroots level (junior cricket) and the various levels up to state. In every other job (except perhaps politics) you get a payrise based on performance. So let's see now - the last twelve months - drawn series against Pak in England, lost series to India, lost the Ashes, and bundled out of the WC in the quarters. Nope, sorry, not good enough - no payrise for you. This upcoming review needs to look at things like this too.

Posted by   on (March 29, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

Yes David, couldn't agree more. I emailed the ACB and asked for a lousy $500 - $1K to help with moving the junior players to the senior club and as you could guess, no one bothered to reply. The Northern Beaches comp has dropped from mid-80 teams to just over 40 in a few years and most of the guys playing will exit over the next few years, so I can see the comp reduced again by half over the next 10 years without the appropriate funding. Don't know how many times we can ask for help...

Posted by   on (March 29, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

Abaa, there have been significant player vs. board battles in Australian cricket before, most notably during Border's era. It's not so uncommon.

Posted by MinusZero on (March 29, 2011, 1:17 GMT)

They should get paid on performance...although they might all go bankrupt

Posted by CharonTFm on (March 29, 2011, 0:18 GMT)

The main problem here is that everyone in Australian Cricket, State Cricket et... receive 26% of revenue generated from pay T.V rights, as well as ground ticket sales. This means that any money that comes from ground tickets during the Domestic Comp is next to nothing! Not all State Cricketers actually get the same amount as those on CA Contract.

The new T20 League competition, will generate more interest and as such will fill more stadiums. Whether you like it or not T20 is here to stay, and it is stupid to suggest that we should have more One Dayers, or Sheffield Shield, when there is not enough interest in people turning up. T20 will feed money into the other format where public interest is lost except for the few die hard fans.

At the end of the day, all sports is a business and a business that doesn't make money will not go far. Instead perhaps the requirements to get a higher share of the League income is for players to play 50 overs and 4 Dayers. As they do with CA Contracts

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (March 29, 2011, 0:06 GMT)

does ponting, clarke, watson etc really think they deserve more money? why? we need more grounds and better wickets (both turf and synthetic) around australia for the next generation of cricketers to come through. if this continues, then as others said here we'll have current W.I in the making!!

footy players play a lot more dangerous sport and risk life time injuries. yet they don't even earn as much as these cricketers when you compare the two. cricketers go on tours while footballers tour in aust only. over all i think cricketers might be better paid.

Posted by dissapointed on (March 28, 2011, 22:04 GMT)

You'd be better off in just playing re-runs of the West Indies of the 80's on the big screens around the Australian ovals, whereas the ovals would become the comfortable seating option/picnic style family setting and paying to see matches played 30 years ago.

The standard of the game is a joke, no incredible skill on show by any nation, after 30 years of playing/watching the sport I'll be finding something new to keep an interest in. $ in sports equals burn out and sub-par performances.

Posted by   on (March 28, 2011, 12:17 GMT)

Somebody needs to tell these guys that grassroots cricket in Australia is dying a very quick death and that a major injection of funding is required. They probably want 26% of the chook raffle money as well.

Posted by   on (March 28, 2011, 11:10 GMT)

The top level elite players do NOT deserve a pay rise unless their on-field performances improve. PART of the 26% (if they're talking about it) should only go to those not on a Cricket Australia contract (read state level contracts), and part should fund junior development.

Posted by Railway-bulldogs on (March 28, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

The players are there to play a game and entertain the spectators. That is worth a set dollar amount,irrespective of the profit. The players have no right to demand a percentage of the profit, it is irrelevant to them.

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