Australian Cricket Players Facing Unemployment Amid Wage Dispute With Governing Body
Australia’s top cricket players are in danger of becoming unemployed on July 1, as they are mired in a wage dispute with the sport’s governing body.
Players could be unemployed on July 1 if they don’t reach a new deal with Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia (CA) stated there would be no agreement before the current deal expired at midnight on Friday. Nearly 230 cricketers would be out of work as a result.
“The negotiations have obviously created interest overseas and there has been genuine interest from the Indian market in regards to players’ IP and taking that offshore,” Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) commercial manager Tim Cruickshank reportedly told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Members of the Australian women’s national cricket team could also end up out of contract because of the impasse, although players participating in the ongoing Women’s World Cup in the United Kingdom will be paid for the entire tournament.
There were hopes that CA head James Sutherland’s return from England would help quell the disagreement beween the two sides. High-performance manager Pat Howard and negotiator Kevin Roberts have led the body’s discussions with the players’ association.
CA added that the ACA had refused to “show genuine flexibility in the best interests of the players and the game” during the long talks.
“CA has been disappointed by the ACA’s unwillingness to consider the sensible and necessary change CA has proposed to the fixed share of revenue player payments model,” the body said in a statement. “The model was adopted 20 years ago to address the underpayment of players. The game has changed fundamentally since then: players are now justifiably well rewarded and the modern challenge is the chronic under-funding of the grassroots of the game, particularly junior cricket.
The statement continued:
“CA believes this challenge can be met while still rewarding players very well for their undoubted contribution,” it read. “CA and the State and Territory Associations are responsible for the health of the whole game, not just the elite level where more than 70 per cent of all CA funding is currently directed.”
Josh Hazlewood — one of the biggest stars of Australia’s national team — emphasized in a recent video on the ACA website how crucial it was to the players that more money be filtered through to state players and female players, and that they all had the right to feel mistreated by CA.
They always seem to point out the no crowds at Sheffield Shield cricket, but they always leave out the Big Bash that draws in massive crowds every game and the Australian cricket team aren’t a part of that,” he said.
If players who are not under contract wish to train, they will be allowed to use the Australian cricket training facilities and staff.
The ACA stated it expected players to show up unpaid Monday as an act of “incredibly good faith.”
Howard also sent an email Thursday to the ACA that stated suspensions would be enforced for those participating in “disapproved cricket.” Howard’s email added that players could not compete in ICC approved tournaments like the Indian Premier League — including exhibition games — without CA approval for at least six months after their transgression.”
Players were also informed that any delay in reaching a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement on or before July 14 would entail they would not receive back pay for the elapsed period.
“If your contract expires on June 30, you will not be an employee of CA, a State Association or a WBBL team from July 1,” Howard wrote.
“This means that you are not required to play, train, perform player appearances or media commitments, and you will not be paid a retainer until such time as a MOU is agreed and a player contract is agreed with you in writing.
The ACA has established a fund to provide financial assistance to players in need — all except international men — covering all female players and male national stars.
The players’ union will meet on Sunday to discuss a possible boycott of the ‘A’ team’s tour of South Africa. That tour involves two four-day games, the first of which starts on July 12.
DARWIN, AUSTRALIA – JULY 22: Pat Cummins of Australia A takes a catch to dismiss Sean Abbott of the Cricket Australia National Performance Squad during the Quadrangular Series match between Australia A and the Cricket Australia National Performance Squad at Marrara Oval on July 22, 2014 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)