Cricket Australia and ACA end pay dispute with fresh deal

Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) have today (Thursday) agreed terms on a new pay deal that is set to avert the threat of arbitration proceedings and concern over the status of the showpiece Ashes series against England.

After a 10-month negotiation, the ACA and CA have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a five-year deal that is set to include male and female players for the first time in Australian cricket.

The agreement comes after CA chief executive James Sutherland (left of picture) last week opened up to the prospect of independent arbitration in order to lift the pay dispute with the ACA. Australian cricket effectively entered lockout mode on July 1 as the deadline expired for an agreement on a new pay deal.

The situation has left as many as 230 players effectively unemployed, with the ACA already electing to boycott the Australia A tour of South Africa which was due to start with a four-day match on July 12. The next series that came under threat was Australia’s two-Test tour to Bangladesh, which commences on August 27, while the Australian cricket summer is highlighted by the Ashes series against England later this year.

These concerns have now been allayed after the contentious issue of a new revenue sharing model to divide a record player payment pool of A$500m (€340.3m/$396.3m) – 30 per cent of CA’s projected A$1.668bn in revenue over the five-year term.

The fresh agreement represents the biggest pay rise in the history of women’s sport in Australia. The revenue sharing model envisions players sharing up to 30 per cent of agreed revenue, consisting of 27.5 per cent of forecast revenue streams and a 2.5 per cent performance pool. If forecast revenue is attained some A$25m will flow down to grassroots cricket from the players.

Under the previous contract, male players had been sharing up to 26 per cent of Australian Cricket Revenue, which amounts to about 80 per cent of CA’s total revenue.

ACA president Greg Dyer said the union would recommend to the players that the deal struck with CA should be accepted. He said: “The new MoU is a great achievement for the players and the game. Like anything worthwhile it's been hard to achieve. But what has been agreed is ground breaking for Australian sport. One MoU for men and women, the maintenance of the partnership model, and record investments for grassroots cricket is what we wanted and it's what has been achieved.” 

However, Dyer added: “There is also a reality to confront. Yes, we've arrived at a great place but the game must never again take this same route. The players did not choose this route and did not enjoy being on it. In fact, the players resented it deeply. This was not a fight the players started. The players defended themselves as is fair and as is their right.”

Commenting on the deal, Sutherland said, according to Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph: “It will restore much needed security to the game of cricket. It’s a sensible compromise from both parties. Change is never easy but sometimes it is necessary. This process hasn’t been easy and history will judge whether it was all worth it in the end.”