CA and ACA reach agreement to end pay dispute

Australia's top 230 players have effectively been unemployed since the previous five-year agreement expired on June 30 and an “A” tour of South Africa has already fallen victim to the acrimonious dispute.

Nearly 230 professional cricketers from Australia have been out of contract with Cricket Australia since June 30.   -  AFP

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association have called a joint news conference for later on Thursday, when they are expected to announce the agreement of a new pay deal to end the lockout of the country's top players.

Australia's top 230 players have effectively been unemployed since the previous five-year agreement expired on June 30 and an “A” tour of South Africa has already fallen victim to the acrimonious dispute.

A report on Cricket Australia's website said a deal was struck after negotiations between Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland and union boss Alistair Nicholson in Melbourne on Thursday morning.

More details of the deal are expected when the pair front the media at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at 4:30 p.m. local time (0630 GMT).

The Executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) will recommend Australia's male and female cricketers accept a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) secured under an in-principle Heads of Agreement between CA and the ACA. 
 
Players will now consider the ACA's recommendation that this agreement with Cricket Australia be supported. 
 
After a 10-month negotiation, the ACA and Cricket Australia (CA) have agreed to an MOU with: 

  • A five-year term; 
  • One agreement for all male and female players for the first time in Australian cricket; 
  • A revenue sharing model, ensuring all players - male and female - are partners in the game of cricket; 
  • A gender equity-pay model;
  • The biggest pay rise in the history of women's sport in Australia; 
  • A revenue sharing model in which players share in up to 30% of agreed revenue, consisting of: 
    • 27.5% of forecast revenue streams (making up the Player Payment Pool (PPP) for the period)
    • A 2.5% performance pool;
    • This is estimated to be $500m (or 30% of a forecast $1.668 billion) 
  • For any revenue over-forecast, the maintenance of an 'adjustment ledger' where; 
    • All male and female and domestic and international players share in this revenue; 
    • An amount of approximately $25 million will flow directly to grassroots investment via the Grassroots Investment fund;
    • This grassroots contribution figure will be matched by the estimated $25m of CA's savings on their current administration expenditure over the next five years;
    • This fund will be administered by a committee involving equal participation by CA and ACA and align to the game development strategies for the next 5 years; 
  • The ACA will retain 'The Cricketers' Brand' for commercial activity;
  • Players will have a greater say on scheduling through a new Standing Scheduling Advisory group, a great innovation strongly endorsed by the players; 
  • Improving the player retirement fund (ACRA) via a CA/ACA Working Group, which will also include female players for the first time.  

The parties have agreed that the 2012-2017 'adjustment ledger' will not be rolled over into the new deal but will rather be expended in accordance with its current design.  

Furthermore, all uncontracted players will receive full 'Back pay' to July 1, 2017, once the full MOU is completed (expected early September).  Any player therefore still requiring financial assistance can contact the ACA.  
 

ACA President Greg Dyer said the ACA was pleased to recommend to the players that the deal struck with CA should be accepted. 
 
"The ACA is delighted for the men and women who play the game now and in the future. 
 
"And for the game of cricket which will continue to benefit from the partnership model which has served cricket so well. 
 
"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. 
 
"The men and women have been rewarded for sticking together and for having the courage of their convictions. They have made history and created a legacy for generations of players to come. 

"In particular I want to acknowledge the sacrifice of the Australia A Team which demonstrated the depth of the resolve of the players to support each other.

"We also congratulate the players who have bravely made the case in the public domain. It will be important that they are respected for having the courage of their convictions. 
 
"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,"  President Dyer said.
 
ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said the sticking point had been the issue of revenue sharing. 
 
"We fought hard for revenue share because we know it has worked well and will continue to do so. 
 
"To have retained the revenue sharing model and increased the level we have and ensure that men, women, domestic and international players receive a fair share is great news for the players and for the game. 
 
"It's right that all players, men and women will be partners in the game because that's a fair outcome. It ensures a game with all parties pulling in the same direction. 
 
"Success in this negotiation for the ACA was achieving revenue sharing for all players, gender equity, fair remuneration increases, greater input on scheduling and more grassroots investment. 
 
"We have achieved those things and on that basis we recommend to the players that the deal be accepted. 
 
"I pay tribute to all of the players for their resolve. Enduring uncertainty and unemployment has been very difficult. They are terrific young men and women who have been rewarded for their determination. 
 
"I especially congratulate Steve Smith, David Warner, Meg Lanning, Alex Blackwell and all ACA 
Delegates for their outstanding leadership. They led the players in this process and prevailed. 
 
I applaud all 300 players for showing such resolve and unity. They have achieved an historic outcome for each other and for the game of cricket," Nicholson said