Australian Players Deserve To Be Paid Very Well: James Sutherland
James Sutherland, Cricket Australia (CA) CEO, has expressed his delight after the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the cricket board and the players was finalised three weeks after the dramatic pay dispute between CA and Australian Cricketers Association came to an end.
There was an air of uncertainty over the future of the Australian players following the extended conflict between CA and ACA. With the CA keen to introduce a new pay model while the ACA was in favour of retaining the 20-year old revenue-share model, nothing positive was coming out, and consequently, 230 players were out of contract since July 1 after the expiry of the previous MoU.
In fact, such was the seriousness of the dispute that the players even boycotted Australia A’s tour of South Africa, but fortunately, the saga came to an end last month, and cricket has now taken centre stage in Australia.
“We’re very comfortable with where it’s all landed, and having the level of certainty that’s needed to proceed with plans for this summer,” Sutherland told cricket.com.au. “Even looking further ahead, it’s amazing how something like this can be all-consuming for a period of time but then, once it’s done, everyone moves on very quickly and is focused on the task at hand.
“Whether it’s players involved in a Test series in Bangladesh, or on the management and operational side where it’s preparation for a big summer of cricket and the Ashes. We’ve only just signed off on the long-form agreement, but over the next couple of months we’ll have a closer look at learnings that can be applied onto the future,” he added.
Sutherland also sounded happy with the fact that the women’s cricketers were recognised by being included in the MoU for the first time before hoping that the revenue would continue to increase which will make every party a ‘winner’.
“We haven’t got much credit for the fact that the women’s side of things was all our proposal, basically in its entirety our proposal was accepted and adopted and it’s a great thing for women’s sport in Australia and particularly for cricket to be leading the way there,” he said.
“There’s an alternative (revenue share) model or a hybrid that we’ve landed on, but I think it’s too early to say how well that works and let’s see how the next five years unfold and what the levels of revenue are. Hopefully they continue to increase which means everyone will be a winner – grassroots cricket will be a winner for some of the investment that comes back through the Grassroots Cricket Fund, but also players will be a winner as revenue rises as well,” he further said.
The CA boss also leapt in defence of Steve Smith & Co. who have faced severe criticism after losing to Bangladesh in the first Test against earlier in September. The win was Bangladesh’s first in five attempts against the team from Down Under.
“A lot of it played out in the media which can give rise to perceptions about its adversarial nature,” Sutherland noted. “To some extent it’s an important, landmark negotiation that comes around every five years or so and it’s an opportunity for both side to address aspects they’ve been dwelling on over time and would like to see different.
“In the professional age of sport there’s an element of inevitability around players’ performances being exposed to reflections on how they’re paid. And the Australian players deserve to be paid very well, they lead the game, they put on the show and they are under extreme pressure in a difficult environment. We’re in the business of supporting them and helping them to win, and rise up the rankings,” he added.
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