High-level negotiations are often ugly and bitter affairs, and the current stand-off between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) is no different.
Let’s get to the core of the matter. The players have a revenue-sharing agreement under the current memorandum of understanding and CA wants to take that model away.
Nothing else really matters. The players have something and they are being asked now to give it up.
CA have tried all summer to convince the players and the public that times have changed and the revenue-sharing model must change with it. We have seen press releases over these negotiations highlighting a better deal for women cricketers and pay rises across the board under this new offer.
What it doesn’t highlight is that CA are trying to take away a model which the players fought very hard for in the 1990s.
The current playing group and the ACA does not want to be the generation that discards this model and takes away the stake that all Australian cricketers currently have in the game.
Steve Smith, David Warner and the ACA do not want to leave a tainted legacy to all future Australian cricketers. Can you blame them?
It is time for CA to concede that they have tried and failed to change the model. Continuing this hardball negotiation is not doing any good – headlines of strikes and a possible 5-0 Ashes defeat are damaging.
CA CEO James Sutherland has not handled this negotiation well, culminating in a threatening email he sent to the players over the weekend. He must be damaging his ongoing and future relationships with the players. It is time to stop the bleeding.
The revenue-sharing matter must be declared closed, with the focus shifting to the percentages at stake within the model. They gave the model to the players and they are deluded to think the players would give it up.
Declare now, Cricket Australia.