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Cricket Australia places ‘landmark’ pay offer on the table

Cricket Australia (CA) has moved to end a player compensation model that has been in place for two decades by making what it claims is a landmark offer that will include female cricketers for the first time.

The national governing body’s chief executive, James Sutherland, today (Tuesday) said the offer was for a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and contained a number of landmark features.

The proposal offers large salary increases, particularly for women, but seeks to end the model of a fixed percentage of revenue from the game going to the players. CA said total potential remuneration for all players, including guaranteed and performance elements, will increase from A$311m (€222.8m/$236m) over the course of the current MOU period which ends in July to A$419m over the next MOU, an increase of 35 per cent.

Sutherland (pictured) said that those men who represented Australia on the international stage would see their average yearly retainer increase to A$816,000 by 2021-22. With match fees and performance bonuses, the expected average income for these players will be A$1.45m by 2021-22, an increase of 25 per cent on 2016-17.

“We have placed the emphasis on increasing the guaranteed amount that the men will receive, rather than rely on any projected increase in revenue,” Sutherland said. “We understand that the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association) prefers the status quo, but CA believes that the model devised in the 1990s, which is based on a fixed percentage of revenue, has served its intended purpose – to make Australia’s cricketers some of the best paid sportspeople in the country.

“It was a means to an end, not something that has to hold us back from providing players with financial certainty, a fair deal for all players including women, and the flexibility to invest in the grassroots of the game. This is a landmark agreement. We are now looking forward to sitting down with the ACA to work through the details and we are confident we will be able to announce a completed agreement before June 30.”

Sutherland added that under the proposal, women will receive an immediate average pay increase of more than 125 per cent. As a result, Australia’s international women cricketers will see their average pay increase from A$79,000 to A$179,000, as of July 1 this year. By 2021, CA expects to see its international women cricketers earning an average of A$210,000.

Players’ union the ACA said it would need to study the details of the offer, but maintained it was still keen on the revenue sharing model. “CA has responded to the ACA's calls for improved pay and conditions for all cricket players regardless of gender and of the need for more investment in grassroots cricket,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said, according to the Reuters news agency.

“The ACA has fought long and hard for these causes. Men and women have stood united for a fairer deal for all and for the next generation of cricketers. The ACA commends our members for their resolve.”