Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Player’s Association’s (ACA) standoff, which has now exceeded beyond the June 30 deadline, has been a huge subject of debate in the Australian cricketing fraternity. Following the expiry of the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) officially expired as of July 1st and as many as 230 cricketers are no officially unemployed at the moment.
Only about 70 domestic male cricketers remain on contract while the Australian Women’s World Cup team currently playing in the UK will be paid for the tournament’s duration. The discussions have not reached any middle ground and the suspense over which side will agree to settle down the matter is still going strong as both the parties are firmly or rather say adamantly stuck to their demands.
Michael Slater fell pay dispute is rubbish
Michael Slater and Ed Cowan, the ex-Australian cricketers, spoke over this issue on Monday’s (July 3) Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast show in Sydney.
Slater did not seem to be on the player’s side slammed the players for their stance. He felt that the disagreement was only for a pay rise and not about integrity.
“What is this partnership rubbish?” Slater said, referring to the players disagreements with CA over the new MoU. “What does that mean? You’re telling me this whole fight is not over money?” he asked.
Cowan disagrees with Slater
Cowan felt that Slater’s opinion was influenced by the fact that heh was a contracted as Channel Nine commentator, the right-holders of majority of Australian cricket.
“I think your view is seriously impeded by your job at Channel Nine,” he said, in a terse reply to Slater’s position.
Slater countered Cowan’s views and said that he never played thinking himself as the partner.
“I’m an ex-cricketer who got paid to play the game and I never walked out there thinking about whether I was a partner,” Slater said. “Because I felt like I was a partner and it didn’t matter how my pay was paid. It has zero to do with my employment,” he added.
Cowan accused CA of not doing enough to protect players. He also hinted that CA was trying dictator tactic which wouldn’t work in today’s world.
“I don’t care about how much I get paid, but I think it is important that it is linked into the health of the game,” the 35-year old said. “What we are trying to do is provide a check and a balance against a governing body that likes control and likes autonomous control over every decision and every moment where every dollar goes.
“I think we’ve shown, not just us but the world, that dictatorships don’t work. So what we’re trying to do is create a genuine partnership so that the game can grow and prosper and there’s a check and balance in decision making. What they (CA) are offering is essentially a surplus model with no control on costs. So that gives them complete control, they can go and spend as much money as they want on whatever they want and they’ve proven in the past that they don’t spend money in the right areas,” he added, highlighting the challenges every Australian cricketer faces from the higher authorities.
CA provides misleading figures?
Cowan came with some numbers and claimed CA was misleading everyone with inflated figures. An average remuneration of a domestic Australian player was currently $199,000 and that the figure had increased by as much as 53% over the last five years, CA claimed.
However, Cowan, who represents New South Wales (NSW), states that the figure was calculated using the average salaries (total payments divided by total number of players) instead of a median salary (the annual figure that most Australian cricketers earn).
“The domestic players that CA sprout earn 240K a year, that is crap, the median income for a domestic player is under $100,000,” Cowan said.
“You’d probably be around $150,000 for 12 months of the year, giving up a huge chunk of your life to dedicate yourself to something that you love. You are trying to play for your country, and you could do this for ten years and not play for your country and be 33, you’ve got no skills, you look up and you’ve been earning $120,000 (a year) for ten years.
“That is good money admittedly, but if you’re trying to live close to the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) because you’ve got to train, you’re not getting ahead in life.”
Players ready for small pay cut
Cowan also claimed that player are ready to take a small pay cut but they no intentions of compromising the proposed changes in the revenue sharing model. The current revenue model is in existence since 1997.
“We’re at the coalface, more so than any CA employee,” Cowan said. “We go back to club cricket, we’ve got kids that run around in grassroots cricket, we know the struggles that are going on and we want more money invested there.
“But when you look at a company with 450 employees and a huge marketing department and a huge media department, we think ‘where does this money go?” he added.