Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has reportedly threatened Australian players with non-payment unless they accept the governing body’s proposed overhaul of player remuneration.
Sutherland has reportedly written: “CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired. In the absence of the ACA negotiating a new MoU, players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18,” Sutherland wrote. “Players with existing multi-year State or BBL contracts that expire after 2017 will be required to play in 2017-18 and will be paid the retainer specified in their contract, regardless of whether a new MOU is in place; and in the absence of a new MoU, the Australian Women’s World Cup Squad will be paid in advance of the June/July World Cup and will be employed until the end of the event.
To be very clear, in the absence of a new MoU, CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired.”
The correspondence, sent by Sutherland to Australian Cricketers’ Association chief Alistair Nicholson on Friday and forwarded by CA to players around the country will surely escalate tensions.
“In its defence of the status quo, the ACA’s narrative about the history and supposed sanctity of the existing pay model has unfairly placed current players in a difficult position,” Sutherland wrote. “I understand that some have been made to feel that accepting the relatively minor but necessary changes to the existing pay model, while being paid more, would somehow be ‘letting the side down’.
“This is nonsense. Nothing decided by today’s players binds future generations, just as nothing decided by past players should govern current players’ decisions concerning their own careers and welfare. Future players will have their own opportunities to negotiate an MoU that suits them and the circumstances of the game at the time.”
“For at least five months, Cricket Australia has been unambiguously clear that the twenty-year-old pay model needs to be adapted in the next MoU to reflect the changing landscape of the game,” Sutherland wrote. “In particular, CA has identified the need to significantly boost funding for grassroots cricket.
“CA firmly believes that the proposal is a fair deal for all players. It is, therefore, surprising and regrettable that the ACA is yet to engage in negotiations on any element of it. Instead, the ACA spent weeks developing a response which merely seeks to defend and entrench the status quo.
“It is clear to me that the only way forward is for the ACA to engage in focused and constructive negotiations based on the proposal put forward by CA in March. With 30 June now only weeks away, the ACA is fast running out of time to engage with CA’s proposal and optimise the outcomes for players.”