The expiration of the cricket MOU at midnight tonight renders Australia’s top male and female cricketers unemployed.
This leaves the game in the worst state of uncertainty since the days of World Series Cricket.
It is also unnecessary given the willingness of players to attend mediation.
A request rejected by CA for reasons best known to themselves.
CA’s offer to the players in March contained accounting tricks, including using the money that players have already earned over the past five years to pay them in the next MOU period. This along with a number of other assumptions artificially inflates the purported increases to players.
As things stand:
- The players are disappointed and frustrated;
- CA’s Australia A Tour of South Africa is uncertain;
- Broadcasters are placed in an unfair predicament since with Australia’s best players now uncontracted, there may be no cricket to broadcast;
- Australia’s reputation in the international sporting community is tarnished; and
- CA staff will continue to be employed and paid by the revenue generated by the now unemployed players.
ACA President Greg Dyer said with the deadline now all but passed, it appears CA harboured little genuine intent to negotiate at any stage over the last seven months, on terms other than its own.
“Refusing offers of flexibility and to attend mediation says a lot,” Dyer said.
“As does the refusal of the CA CEO to be involved.
“It says they weren’t fair dinkum.
“It’s been a case of divide and rule from the start and when that failed the threats started and haven’t stopped.
"All of which has failed.
"It's quite incredible. Reasonable young men and women have been set upon by their employer with tactics not seen before in Australian sport.
“So given they will be unemployed the players have to consider how best to respond," Dyer said.
ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said an emergency Executive meeting had been convened to respond to the post June 30 reality.
“The ACA Executive will meet on Sunday to discuss the way forward.
“Given CA’s negotiation strategy from day one of these negotiations, we have made plans for this possibility.
"We are ready to roll-out support to the players who need it.
“We have set aside funds to help players who need to pay their bills.
"And The Cricketers' Brand will now be sourcing sponsorships as well.
“The players also have some very important decisions to make. That’s why an emergency Executive meeting has been called.”
Nicholson said the Executive would discuss:
- Options for responding to CA given the players want a solution;
- Advice to be given to players who remain in contract;
- Recent threats by CA about out of contract players being restricted from working elsewhere post 30 June;
- Unemployed players willingness to train without pay;
- The availability of players for the upcoming Australia A Tour of South Africa;
- Employment rights of the uncontracted players;
- The activation of WaMCAP (support fund); and
- The opportunities being created by The Cricketers’ Brand.
- The ACA will advise of the details for any media involvement with Sunday’s Executive meeting, and publish the Executive’s decisions after the meeting.
Why are the players so determined?
- They are not asking for more but only what is fair and what the game can afford;
- The players have been in a successful partnership model for almost 20 years;
- As partners they have innovated by making changes to their domestic season, wearing on-field technology, engaging the record numbers of fans, and being at the forefront of Day Night cricket and the BBL and WBBL;
- The Revenue Sharing Model has meant that the players are invested in the upside and shared the downside of the game;
- The players feel that urgent and significant investment must occur in grassroots cricket and can be achieved with a partnership model;
- The players have negotiated in good faith and called for mediation for months.
Player Flexibility In Negotiations So Far:
The ACA, as instructed by players, has offered:
- For the players to take a modified share of revenue pending;
- Sensible discussions on revenue that should be eligible for sharing; and
- For a future adjustment ledger (the players’ share of over forecast revenues) to be cascaded into:
- Grassroots investment;
- Player and ACA benefits, retirement and funding;
- Player development programs; and
- Player transition programs.
MOU and Player Contracts Expiring
- The ACA and CA are parties to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which expires on 30 June 2017.
- The MOU currently covers male players only. The ACA is seeking to have female players included in a new MOU for the first time.
- In terms of Playing Contracts there are approximately:
- 29 international male players, whose CA Player Contracts all expire on 30 June 2017.
- 15 international female players, whose CA Player Contracts and marketing contracts also expire on 30 June 2017. These contracts are not reliant on the MOU because female players are presently excluded from it.
- 99 female players with State Contracts whose contracts to play for their State also expire on 30 June 2017.
- 167 male players with State Playing Contracts. More than half of those State Playing Contracts expire on 30 June 2017.
- There are approximately 70 players who are currently on a multi-year State Playing Contract extending beyond 30 June 2017 – with a revenue share as a component.
The Negotiations so far
- The Current MOU required ‘good faith’ negotiations to commence between CA/ACA on 1 October 2016 for renewal of the MOU.
- The ACA requested financial and forecasting information from CA in August 2016, provided by CA in previous MOU negotiations.
- MOU negotiations commenced on 11 November 2016.
- ACA provided CA with its MOU Submission “Growing the Game for Everyone” on 11 November 2016; signed by Australia’s cricket Captains.
- CA’s MOU Submission “A fair deal for all players, now and in the future” dated December 2016 was sent by CA directly to the players.
- Talks were suspended/postponed by CA on 19 December 2016.
- Australia’s Captains sent a letter to CA dated 23 December 2017 requesting CA not deal directly with the players, but with the ACA.
- CA’s MOU Remuneration & Benefits Proposal dated March 2017 was sent by CA directly to the players, despite the Captains’ request.
- The ACA’s Response to CA’s Remuneration Proposal dated 28 April 2017 was sent to CA, offering flexibility in retention of the Revenue Share Model.
- CA rejected the ACA’s Response and suggestions in less than 2 hours.
- James Sutherland sent a letter dated 12 May 2017 directly to players threatening them with unemployment come 30 June 2017.
- The ACA called for Mediation in May 2017 to break the impasse.
- At the ACA’s suggestion, as a sign of good faith in June 2017 the Australian Women’s World Cup Squad agreed to complete the Women’s’ World Cup post 30 June 2017, based on a short contract extension/Tour contracts.
- The ACA calls for Emergency CEO Mediation on 23 June 2017.
- CA sent ‘Contract Offers’ directly to the players on 23 June 2017 (without ACA Approval).
- The ACA advised the players not to sign these CA’s ‘Contract Offers’ because they were sent directly to the players without ACA approval, were not based on a Revenue Sharing Model and were impossible to assess without provisions of full financial and forecasting information from CA as requested in August 2016.
- The Current MOU is due to expire at midnight on 30 June 2017.
- All CA international Player Contracts are due to expire on 30 June 2017 (subject to the short Women’s World Cup Extension above).
- All CA Marketing Contracts are due to expire on 30 June 2017.
- All domestic female Player Contracts are due to expire on 30 June 2017.
- Most domestic male Player Contracts are due to expire on 30 June 2017.
- 70 domestic male players on multi-year State/BBL Player Contracts remain in contract to their State Associations, but with an expectation of ongoing revenue share (as a condition of their contract).