Thursday, October 19, 2017

Australia tour of Bangladesh to proceed as pay dispute ends

  • Sports and Reuters
    Published: 2017-08-03 12:09:00 BdST

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland (keft) and Australian Cricketers' Association CEO Alistair Nicholson make an announcement on the Memorandum of Understanding at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne, Australia, August 3, 2017. AAP/Tracey Nearmy/via Reuters

Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers’ Association have reached a deal over pay dispute, paving the way for the Test tour of Bangladesh to proceed later this month.

An in-principle agreement was signed after negotiations were held between CA Chief Executive James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson, his ACA counterpart, in Melbourne on Thursday morning.

"I think we've reached a good compromise, one we can both live with and one that will be good for the game and good for Australia's cricketers," Reuters quoted Sutherland as saying at a press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"In announcing this agreement we are restoring certainty, beginning to repair relationships, especially with the fans. We want the focus to be back on the cricket."

A formal disclosure of the new five-year memorandum of understanding or MoU will be done at a media briefing to be held later in the afternoon.

The immediate repercussions of the deal are that two Tests in Bangladesh will now go ahead in August and September with the Australia squad scheduled to gather in Darwin next week for a pre-tour camp.

The Aussies are scheduled to fly to Dhaka on Aug 18 for the two-Test series. The matches are scheduled to start immediately before and after Eid-ul-Azha to be observed early next month.

At the heart of the disagreement was CA's insistence that a two-decade-old model, under which players receive a fixed percentage of revenue, should be jettisoned.

The governing body said the model was outdated and claimed it was starving grass-roots cricket of funding, while the players' union countered that it had underpinned the game's growth and prosperity over the past 20 years.

The revenue-share arrangement has survived in the "heads of agreement" on new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which union boss Alistair Nicholson said he was confident the players would vote to accept.

"A revenue sharing model ensuring all players, male and female, are partners in the game of cricket," Nicholson said, outlining the agreement.

"The revenue sharing model in which the players will share up to 30 percent of agreed revenue consisting of 27.5 percent of forecast revenue streams and a 2.5 percent performance pool.

"This is estimated to be up to $500 million in the next five-year period."

Nicholson said the players would receive back pay once the final MoU had been signed.

The dispute had raged on for nine months and grew increasingly bitter as both sides took to airing their grievances publicly.

The union refused to deal with CA's lead negotiator and were angered when Sutherland warned players would be unemployed and unpaid without a new agreement on the table.

Players subsequently boycotted the 'A' tour and warned subsequent tours to Bangladesh, India and the Ashes series were under threat.

Having declined for months to deal directly with the ACA, Sutherland was cajoled back to the negotiating table in July and the deal was struck in head-to-head talks with Nicholson on Thursday morning.