One spectator’s take on cricket negotiations

Kurt S Roar Pro

By , Kurt S is a Roar Pro

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8 Have your say

    With the advent of the Memorandum of Understanding deadline being missed, the Cricket Australia pay dispute has become a very sorry and internationally damaging state of affairs.

    The Australian Cricketers Association have accused CA of being underhanded in directly approaching players, while simultaneously undermining CA by refusing to deal with their appointed negotiator, Kevin Roberts.

    Instead they demanded James Sutherland come to the table – which he has recently done.

    There are aspects of the revenue share model and having ACA partner with CA that concern me. By having the players partners with the CA, they have the opportunity to drive agenda and negotiations regarding revenue.

    We have recently seen Network Ten, the holders of the BBL free-to-air rights, falter. At the last negotiations for international cricket, there was word that Ten were considering a serious attempt at wrestling the contract from Channel Nine. With Ten’s ability to raise capital seemingly diminished, CA does not have the bargaining chip of being able to play multiple free-to-air channels off each other to gain the best possible price for their product, even if Channel Seven enters the fray.

    Would ACA accept lower total revenue if there was only a solitary bidder for CA’s product on the domestic airwaves? I suspect there would be massive lobbying of the like we are seeing now to maintain their healthy salaries. One way for that to happen would be to add pressure on the government to legislate for cricket to be moved to pay TV. And that is a very slippery slope.

    Another part of this negotiation I find hard to swallow was the players’ complaints before the T20 era that they were spending too much time away from home, playing too much cricket and were burned out. Fair call. International travel gets tedious very quickly, especially with your loved ones so far away.

    But the advent of the IPL and other lucrative competitions soon had players wanting to take part in more cricket, albeit in shorter form. Cash is a handy incentive and once you have a lucrative income stream, very few want to let go of it.

    I’m all for women and state players receiving decent remuneration. But to hear of state players being on over $200,000, with a cemented yearly increase pegged far above inflation, is a little rich. Pay them 20-30 per cent over the national average earnings for a junior to middle manager – effectively what their role is in the cricket scheme of things – and peg it at inflation. If they are good enough, other benefits will come through BBL or other international domestic comps.

    By all means pour money into country and grassroots cricket, and encourage juniors to stay in the game to get to state level. The game needs watching Shield cricket to be exciting again.

    As for the Australia A tour, to have the Test players let the up-and-comers lose an opportunity to stamp their authority in the international arena is akin to culling their own.

    The personalities have always been an alluring aspect of the game, yet the personalities I have been seeing through the press and social media of late have not been endearing. It looks petty and a cash-grab from both sides.

    The players have used social media to offer their version of reality, while CA have not had that same bargaining opportunity with the public.

    I’ve suddenly realised I am tired of cricket.

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