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CA, ACA agree terms to finally end player pay dispute

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FT ONLINE

A deal has been reached to resolve Australian cricket’s protracted pay dispute, paving the way for the nation’s professional players to be re-contracted and for this month’s scheduled Test tour to Bangladesh to proceed as planned.

The in-principle agreement was signed after a final round of face-to-face negotiations between Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland and his Australian Cricket Association counterpart Alistair Nicholson in Melbourne on Thursday reports said.

Details of the deal and the new five-year Memorandum of Understanding that it underpins are expected be revealed at a formal media announcement, to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this afternoon.

The central sticking point throughout the sometimes rancorous stand-off has been the model by which the players are paid.

In previous iterations of the MOU over the past two decades, players have received an agreed portion of CA’s gross cricket-related revenue but the governing body sought to modify that in the new agreement to allow it greater flexibility for much-needed investment in grassroots programs and facilities.

The players’ union has argued strongly for the revenue share model’s retention claiming that any revision of the model risked reducing them from status as partners in the game to paid employees.

Sutherland indicated last Thursday that if a resolution to the nine-month dispute could not be found this week, CA would propose that the unresolved items be sent to independent arbitration.

That would enable the 230 or so players rendered out of contract upon the expiration of the previous MOU on June 30 to be re-employed.

The ACA had resolved at a meeting last month that none of the nation’s 300 professional cricketers would make themselves available to participate in matches organised by CA until agreement on an MOU was signed.

Australia’s men’s Test team is due to fly to Dhaka on August 18 to begin their two-Test tour of Bangladesh, having spent a week of intensive preparation at a training camp in Darwin that is scheduled to begin late next week.

-NK

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