Australian cricket’s pay stoush will continue on Monday, with a marathon round of talks so far unable to break the revenue-sharing deadlock.
Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) are attempting to thrash out a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The previous MoU expired at the end of the financial year on June 30, leaving 230 players unemployed and prompting the cancellation of this month’s Australia A tour to South Africa.
There has been progress this week, with CA chief executive James Sutherland injecting himself into negotiations in an attempt to end the saga.
Friday’s session wrapped up at approximately 7.30pm, and the discussion resumed on Saturday morning then ended shortly after lunch.
The governing body and players’ union are expected to meet again on Monday.
“The increased involvement of CA CEO James Sutherland has been pleasing,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.
“A better understanding has been established on both parties’ positions.”
There is more goodwill at the negotiation table, raising hopes of a compromise, but it’s understood CA and the ACA remain ideologically opposed regarding revenue sharing.
CA has declared the model that has shaped players’ salaries since the first MoU was agreed 20 years ago is no longer viable, with Sutherland opining it is responsible for a “chronic underfunding” of grassroots.
Dr Ross Booth, one of Australia’s eminent sports economists with no ties to CA or the ACA, described that argument as a “bit of a red herring”.
ACA player liaison manager Simon Katich noted players understood the need to modernise the revenue-sharing model.
“To not only include the female players for the first time but also to ensure the growth of the game,” former Test opener Katich told AAP.
“Cricket has not only survived by giving players a percentage of revenue but thrived in the process.
“The benefit of having a structure that rises and falls with the money available is it ensures the players never take more than the game can afford.”
Both CA and the ACA are starting to feel pressure from a range of stakeholders, with unemployed players having missed their first pay packet.
The ACA has set up a hardship fund for domestic players in need of financial assistance.
CA has declared it will not backpay players. It plans to instead direct that amount, approximately $1.2 million every fortnight the impasse drags on, to grassroots.
The union is upbeat CA’s stance on this will change.