A new pay deal has been reached between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association after months of bitter negotiations, meaning a scheduled tour of Bangladesh will go ahead later this month.
CA CEO James Sutherland said the parties had reached an in-principle agreement on “the core issues” of the deal.
The revenue-sharing model has been retained, which had been the main sticking point between them.
CA had wanted to scrap it.
Sutherland said both parties had regret about the way negotiations unfolded.
“This process hasn’t been easy and history will judge whether it was all worth it in the end,” he said.
“There is no denying that the debate itself has at times been difficult and even acrimonious. Relationships within the game have been tested and I know that’s been a bit of a turnoff for some fans.”
In a significant move, the agreement will apply to all male and female players for the first time in Australian cricket, and the deal is being lauded as the biggest pay rise in the history of women’s sport in the country.
Female player payments will increase from $7.5 million to $55.2 million.
“[It’s] a gender equity pay model, with the biggest pay rise in the history of women’s sport in Australia,” the boss of the players association Alistair Nicholson said.
Under the updated revenue sharing model, the players will share up to 30 per cent of agreed revenue, made up of 27.5 per cent of forecast revenue streams and a 2.5 per cent performance pool.
That is estimated to be worth up to $500 million over the next five years, which is the length of the agreement.
Under the previous system, male players had been sharing in up to 26 per cent of Australian Cricket Revenue, which represents about 80 per cent of CA’s total revenue.
Grassroots cricket gets $25 million boost
Nicholson said the players would be given 24 hours to vote on the agreement but it was all but guaranteed to get the tick of approval.
CA had argued it wanted to change the revenue system to give more money to grassroots cricket, which it said was “sorely” needed.
The players had been arguing for what they said was fairer distribution of money for domestic and women’s cricketers.
Under the new deal about $25 million will flow to the community level.
The players felt they had not been consulted enough on issues like scheduling, and they will now be given greater input. The retirement fund will also be improved.
The players will receive back pay once the final agreement is signed off.
Cricket Australia’s threat of arbitration not needed
Last week, the governing body said if no deal was reached, it was prepared to call in an independent arbitrator to broker a deal.
The previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expired on July 1, leaving 230 of the 300 players out of contract and without pay.
There have been threats to call off upcoming overseas tours, and even the Ashes series on home soil, after Australia A’s tour of South Africa was cancelled due to the dispute.
But with the deal reached, the tour of Bangladesh with go ahead later this month without interruption.
Players, perhaps most notably vice captain David Warner, did not shy away from their frustration at CA for the way it has conducted itself throughout negotiations.