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One spectator’s take on cricket negotiations

Kurt S Roar Pro

By Kurt S, Kurt S is a Roar Pro

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    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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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • July 14th 2017 @ 8:36am
      Bert said | July 14th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

      Cricket Australia have to realize all sport nowadays have the administration and players as partners.

      That is a non-negotiable.

      Cricket Australia and James Sutherland have handled this very badly.

      And the cricketing public have every right to be disappointed in Cricket Australia.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 11:43am
        Larney said | July 14th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        The problem is Jaes Sutherland hasn’t handled anything full stop. I find it absolutely appalling. Time for him to stand down and clean the board out.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 1:26pm
      Bert said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      Peever has chosen the exact wrong moment in time to do the big-note blow-hard from the ragged right-wing of Australian political discourse.
      His clownish mob are currently about as popular as the plague.
      ….and about as useful.

      His ilk can sleaze their way between us and our resources when we look the other way, but cricket is always in the spotlight.

      The ACA should just dump Cricket Australia and all their time-serving gate-keepers and set up shop as THE organization for Australian Cricket.
      And before the Blazers in the other national organizations blow hard about the consequences, they’d better have a little chat with their players beforehand.
      Cricket’s brutal stand off shows no signs of ending as players ask where the $1.9 billion in revenue attracted during the last contract period is being spent if grassroots cricket is missing out.
      Australian Cricketers’ Association representative Simon Katich hit out hard at the administrators yesterday saying they were accountable for spending and it is they who have let down the game at the park level.
      “The players bring in approximately 80 per cent of the revenue into the game and take a percentage out as their wage under the existing model. How the rest of it is spent is up to Cricket Australia,” Katich said. “If grassroots has been let down then they have let it down, not the players.”
      The industrial dispute that has forced 230 cricketers into unemployment and threatens sponsorship and broadcast deals is dragging into its second week.
      CA has no major sponsors for the Test, ODI or T20 sides, although the financial group Magellan is understood to be keen to put its name on the Test shirts but won’t sign anything while the dispute drags on.
      The Nine Network is in the unenviable position of trying to sell advertising slots for the summer’s Ashes series with no real certainty that it will go ahead.
      The players have withdrawn permission from CA to use their images in any marketing and are looking to offload their intellectual property to a sports management company in a move that will provide future funding for the players’ association and assist cricketers who are struggling without their fortnightly wage.
      Mitchell Starc has already signed with a rival sponsor and there are more deals expected to be done at the end of the month as player agents bide their time.
      Cricket Australia sources say progress has been made in negotiations, but Australian Cricketers’ Association sources reject that, saying that any offers of compromise they make are rejected.
      The Australian understands from people close to the negotiations that offers from players to isolate a fair share for grassroots cricket have been rejected by Cricket Australia.
      Both parties claim the other is playing a stalling game, with CA blaming ACA head Alistair Nicholson and the ACA pointing the finger at the administration’s executive manager Kevin Roberts.
      Attempts to bring other parties into the dispute to broker a deal have failed. CA chief executive James Sutherland has refused all requests from players to become involved in the negotiations and CA has twice rejected the players’ calls to enter mediation.
      From the start, CA has insisted it needs to find more money for grassroots cricket, claiming that only 12 per cent of revenue is directed to that part of the game.

      • July 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm
        Barry said | July 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        Alan Jones has stated on radio that CA employs 450 people, I would really like to see a breakdown of who they are and what they are paid. Would also like to know what they do with the 55% of income they keep. If they spend 12% on grassroots, where does the other 43% end up?

    • July 14th 2017 @ 1:28pm
      Alex L said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

      The Australian players seem to be under the mistaken impression that they actually make any of the money. Virat Kohli makes more money for CA than the entire Australian squad.

      • Roar Guru

        July 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm
        Rellum said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        Well CA should have no problems making a profit then without the players.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm
        AGordon said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        So when Australia is playing England later this year, it doesn’t matter if all 5 days of all 5 Tests are washed out because Super Kohli is going to fill the CA coffers? Nope, try as I might, can’ t see the logic in this.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 2:33pm
        BrainsTrust said | July 14th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

        Is Kohli a big factor when India play in Australia, I am not sure he makes a personal difference.
        If India came without Kohli would crowds be smaller and by how much.
        Shane Warne made a massive difference when he played locally in T20 matches in both crowds and ratings.
        Kohli would have some sort of effect on the local T20 , especially in attracting in local Indian cricket fans, but they will be out in force for an Indian team regardless whether Kohli is there or no.
        The more pertinent question if Cricket Australia wanted to replace the current team with an alternative team which would be hopeless what would be the effect on the overseas TV money. I think as far as the Indian market it would have a big negative long term effect for many years and India might even stop visiting till the team proves which would wipe out that revenue.
        The Ashes on the other hand , there was never any concern in England that Australia was understrength because of a rebel tour. It might become like the Bledisloe cup where Kiwis have replaced Wallaby spectators. England might enjoy thrashing Australia and ratings in England might increase.
        Locally though TV ratings would crash and the next Tv deal would be for a pittance plus local crowds would come crashing down.

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