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Players’ union rejects latest Cricket Australia pay offer as lockout looms

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has today (Friday) called for emergency mediation after rejecting Cricket Australia’s (CA) latest offer for a new pay deal ahead of a deadline of June 30 for an agreement to be reached.

The two organisations have been at loggerheads for a number of months over a new deal, with Australia’s top cricketers now facing the real prospect of being locked out unless a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) can be agreed in the next week.

CA today said it had made a new offer after listening to feedback from players, adding it has also invited the ACA to explore the flexibility that it is prepared to offer in order to conclude a new MoU for a five-year collective agreement.

CA said player feedback suggests that the sharing of international cricket surpluses with male and female domestic players, and the level of pay increases for male state players, are critical issues for them. Therefore, it said it has now offered to increase the international cricket surpluses that are shared with players, include all domestic players in the sharing arrangements, and increase annual pay rises to male state players.

In response, the ACA said it had advised players not to sign the revised offer. In a statement, it said: “The letter provided to players today from CA does not accurately reflect how far apart the parties remain with a week to go. The parties have not reached agreement on many fundamental issues.

“The contract offers do not contain revenue sharing for all players, and are not what they appear to be. They do not include crucial information regarding terms and conditions. Further, as has been requested since August 2016, critical financial and forecasting information has yet to be provided so the ACA can properly assess the offers and advise the players accordingly. This remains unacceptable.”

Earlier, ACA president Greg Dyer called for emergency mediation to be conducted at CEO level. He said: “We are hopeful that the common sense offers of flexibility made in negotiations will be treated more respectfully in an elevated and mediated environment.

“As things stand, from June 30 most of Australia’s elite male and female cricket players will be unemployed, jeopardising upcoming tours and ultimately the summer of cricket. This creates uncertainty for broadcasters, sponsors, players and administrators. And potentially stains the game, in the eyes of fans, and Australia’s reputation in the international community.”

Australia’s upcoming schedule includes a Test series in Bangladesh and a limited overs tour of India, while the domestic summer is highlighted by the showpiece Ashes series against England. In April, the ACA turned down a pay offer from CA, accusing the sport’s national governing body of trying to “short change” grassroots investment.

The rejected proposal included a measure for Cricket Australia to retain 55 per cent of all revenue, while players and grassroots cricket would each receive 22.5 per cent. CA also said it would guarantee a 35-per-cent increase in player remuneration during the five years from 2017 until 2021 to A$314m (€214.8m/$234m).

In addition, the body said the average wage for men that represent Australia at cricket would increase to A$1.45m by the 2021-22 season, while the average female player’s wage would reach A$210,000 by 2021. The ACA has criticised the revenue-sharing model and said that the structure would reduce the share of revenue made available to players and their programs in real terms.

The ACA also posted a video on its website today in which Australia captain Steve Smith stated the players are “completely united” behind their union.