Australian cricket’s long-running pay dispute continues to drag on but there are glimmers of hope a resolution may be near, with a Cricket Australia spokesperson telling Guardian Australia an agreement with the Australian Cricketers’ Association is “closer than it appears”. The governing body was bullish about the chances of August’s tour of Bangladesh going ahead and there was even greater confidence in this summer’s men’s and women’s Ashes taking place. By comparison, the ACA’s tone was much more cautious.
The previous five-year memorandum of understanding expired on 30 June, since when professional cricket has existed in limbo with the majority of players effectively unemployed. Negotiations for the new deal began in December last year but ill will surfaced quickly and discussions were soon shelved. In March this year this year CA submitted the first draft of a revised MoU, documenting the controversial removal of the fixed-revenue payment model, a suggestion rejected out of hand by the players. “We see the retention of the revenue share model as being fundamental from our perspective,” ACA president Greg Dyer asserted in June.
ESPN Cricinfo reported that obstacle may finally have been overcome with a compromise based around an increased redistribution of funds to grassroots cricket. This was signposted over the weekend by the ACA as part of a $30m “peace plan”, itself a symbol of a something inching towards an accommodating tone in what has been a bitter debate.
Nevertheless, talks continue towards the drafting of a non-binding heads of agreement. This general document establishes the core tenets of the MoU which will then be worked through in detail over time. It is here the presence or absence of the principle of revenue sharing is causing so much angst with ACA insistent on its inclusion and CA refusing to budge. It seems almost as though both parties agree on the outcome, just not the semantics underpinning it.