By Greg Dyer
Trying to get Cricket Australia to share its financial and forecasting information is proving quite the challenge.
This lack of transparency is one of the primary reasons why the current MOU negotiations are stalling.
That and Cricket Australia’s attack on the partnership model which has served the game so well.
As things stand, the players and their Association are largely in the dark.
Information is essential in a partnership, and in any negotiation the outcome will only be equitable if both parties are empowered.
For the past 20 years, the players have been genuine partners in Australian cricket and as such this financial transparency has been provided; but for some reason known only to CA, this isn’t occurring in these current negotiations.
Therefore, trust needs to be restored with CA providing some answers; and these are the top ten questions the players and the Association are asking.
1. What is the expected forecast revenue coming into the game for the period of the next MOU?
2. Why, when there is expected to be significant growth in revenue coming into local T20 cricket and women’s cricket would CA propose to exclude domestic and women cricketers from revenue sharing?
3. Within the current MOU, what is the justification for the erosion of the players’ share of revenue from a publicly reported 26% to a figure closer to 19%?
4. Further, why is there an estimated $460 million difference between the revenue pool shared with the players and the revenue which CA receives?
5. Where does CA allocate this estimated $460 million?
6. How can it be justified that the investment in grass roots cricket is only 12% of all the revenue in the game?
7. Why is it that some of the revenue received by CA that uses the players and their digital attributes is not shared with the players? For example, why do players receive 0% of digital revenue?
8. What are the recurrent forecasts for the period of the next MOU including estimated changes for executive salaries and administrative costs?
9. Why won’t Cricket Australia agree to a standing committee with players to fix the current issues with domestic and international scheduling?
10. And finally, why have a multi-million-dollar high performance unit and then prepare a schedule when the best players are unavailable to participate in it?
Given these are the most asked questions you can get a feel for what the players are concerned about more broadly.
The players very clearly support the retention of the Revenue Sharing Model covering all players regardless of national or state classification, and without exclusion based on gender. The players also want a greater share of the additional fruits of their labour to be invested in real investment in grass roots cricket given it has been drastically underfunded by CA.
To this end think about the enormous and growing gap (estimated to be in excess of $460 million) between all revenue received by CA and the revenue pool that is shared by the players referred to above.
A funding gap which could be used for improved player welfare, to further professionalise the women’s game and provide them with equivalent terms and conditions, to enhance grassroots development programs and to improve (read reinstate) the Sheffield Shield/WNCL as Australia’s true high performance unit.
These are some of the questions and concerns that the players have, and that are unacceptable now, and which become far worse in the context of a game which will most likely attract more than $2 billion in revenue in the years ahead.
Which is why, with so much money coming into Australian cricket, transparency will matter more than ever. Why accountability will matter more than ever, and why an open and trusting partnership with the players is so important.
Right now, transparency is missing and so trust is absent. And until it returns there can be no deal between the players and the administrators.
These are fair questions and the players are right to be asking.