A structured visitors’ period has been in place for Australian cricketers since 2001, when it was included in the second Memorandum of Understanding struck between the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and Cricket Australia.
ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said the visitors’ periods were a key component of the support services provided to players.
“Having families on tour is an important part of the support network for players, particularly with three forms of the game and year-round travel. Overseas campaigns can be brutal and while players understand that it is part and parcel of what they do, the relatively short periods they spend with their families and partners has a positive impact on their wellbeing.
“The official overseas travel periods are negotiated as part of the MOU and paid for by the players from the Player Payment Pool. The support provided to them is valued highly.
“There are two official visitors’ periods: one as part of the Australian team’s overseas schedule (funded by ACA) and one at home (funded by CA). The latter runs over the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, coinciding with the Christmas and New Year’s periods, respectively. This is obviously an important time for families to be together. Most players, because of the nature of their job, don’t get to enjoy these celebrations with extended family - so it’s important that the environment for direct family is as inclusive as possible at this time of year.”
The overseas period is designated months in advance and entitles players to have immediate family members or partners on tour for a two-week period. The costs associated with this are paid for by the players via the Player Payment Pool. This benefit becomes available to a player when he has spent more than 50 days abroad in a contract year.
The ACA invests in the resourcing of these periods, sending an ACA staff member on tour as a liaison and being fully involved in the logistical arrangements.
Some players elect to have their partners/ family join them before or after the official visitors’ period, with these costs borne by the relevant players directly. In the current Ashes series, the majority of partners and families departed the UK following the second Test.
The intense travel, training and playing schedule for current cricketers means that many spend more than two thirds (250 days) of the year away from home – and that’s excluding the IPL. The overseas visitors’ period is 14 days.