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DIZZY: Sort this pay dispute out and let’s get on with the cricket

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    The Australian cricket team. (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

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    As I write this, the Australian ‘A’ cricket team should have been playing their first four-day match against South Africa ‘A’ in Pretoria.

    This was an opportunity for players to put themselves in the shopfront window for potential selection for the Test and ODI side. With a trip to Bangladesh coming up after the tour, there was at least one fast bowling spot vacant in the Test squad for one of the pace bowlers to stake their claim.

    It was also an opportunity for all players to put in performances for future opportunities. In the recent past, we have seen ‘A’ form be rewarded with Australian selection, so in a sense you could say it is a missed opportunity for all the players.

    So, what is this all about?

    Revenue share – plain and simple. The players want to retain the revenue share model, Cricket Australia want to change to, in their opinion, a model to better reflect a changing financial landscape.

    I’ve followed this saga with interest as a Life Member of the Australian Cricketers’ Association and as a coach within Australian cricket.

    I have to admit to being disappointed in the tit for tat in the media between the ACA and CA. Why have there been so many press releases stating disappointment at the lack of meaningful talks?

    CA have spoken about “genuine flexibility” around talks with the ACA. Then we read in the papers that CA bypass the ACA and offer contracts directly to individual players. I’m not surprised there is some hesitation from the playing group.

    The ACA are willing to be flexible in negotiations yet won’t talk unless the revenue share model stays. Is that “genuine flexibility?”

    There are a number of things at play here.

    A philosophy change at CA level. Players appear to be seen as employees as opposed to partners in the game.

    It’s unique in that yes, technically, players are simply employees that draw a paycheque. However, the difference is that CA can’t just go and find someone else to bat at three for Australia and average over 50, nor can they find someone to bowl toe-crushing yorkers at 150km/h.

    It has to be a partnership. I don’t necessarily believe that CA see players merely as employees. There is genuine sentiment from CA that understands how important the players are.

    My thoughts are that CA are simply looking at numbers. They see that the Sheffield Shield and the domestic 50-over competition lose money. From their statements they have released publicly, they don’t believe that the finances of the game are healthy enough to have domestic players share in all cricket revenue.

    Also, for the first time our women, international and domestic players, are sharing in this MOU and those domestic competitions are not money earners.

    Kristen Beams Meg Lanning celebrate

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    There is a solid financial argument here. And there lies the crux of this dispute.

    #fairshare – all the players have been using this hashtag.

    The ACA have proposed that 22.5 per cent of revenue goes to players, 22.5 per cent goes to grassroots and the rest to running the game.

    It sounds simple and, on the face of it, it is.

    But CA don’t believe it is quite as straightforward as that.

    There are obviously costs associated with running the game. There is game development, promoting the game, logistics, administration costs and so on.

    CA understands the domestic competitions play an important role in developing players for international cricket, the nursery grounds of Australian cricket.

    However, they feel it’s fair to put a cap on domestic wages because these competitions are not there as commercial drivers, moreso high-performance indicators, and that there are players in the competitions that won’t go on to play for their country.

    The way the ACA sees it is they believe domestic competitions being healthy and strong cricket is of benefit to our international teams, and that players deserve to share in all revenue generated by Australian cricket.

    The players that won’t necessarily play at the highest level are contributing to keeping the competition strong by playing high-quality domestic cricket, which helps develop the players that do end up reaching the top.

    There is also a sense of CA not really believing that the ACA should dictate how they administer the game.

    Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland and chairman Wally Edwards

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    It’s been very interesting to get the thoughts of the cricket supporters out there.

    Whether it be watching my sons play sport on a Saturday or down at the local, the public opinions are many and varied. Some believe the players are greedy, some believe that CA are screwing the players.

    I can assure you that neither of these statements are true.

    However, the public has all agreed on one thing: why have CA and the ACA released a number of statements publicly and not just closed the door and sorted this out?

    On this, I agree. Find a compromise and let’s get on with the cricket.

    It’s not a great look for our game.

    Jason Gillespie
    Jason Gillespie

    After taking 259 wickets in 71 Tests to become Australia's sixth highest wicket-taker, Jason Gillespie has remained involved in cricket, coaching the likes of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Adelaide Strikers. Follow Jason on Twitter @Dizzy259.

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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • July 13th 2017 @ 5:36am
      twodogs said | July 13th 2017 @ 5:36am | ! Report

      Bloody fence sitter?!!

    • July 13th 2017 @ 6:41am
      Mike said | July 13th 2017 @ 6:41am | ! Report

      I have no interest in this current crop of cricketers (except perhaps Maxwell and one or two others). Michael Clarke’s rise was the beginning of the end for me Jason, and this lot are no better. Tell them to get stuffed I reckon

      • July 13th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Simon said | July 13th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        Really? The Australian Test side is at its most exciting point in years, young batsmen coming through in Renshaw and Handscomb, our incredible fast bowling stocks, etc. I just hope CA can sort themselves out before the Ashes

    • July 13th 2017 @ 7:16am
      bazza said | July 13th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Dizzy it’s simple

      The cost to run the game and shield etc does not go down however the money Cricket australia gets goes up and down like a yoyo. An ashes year they get more when the West indies come they get less simple economics.

      So under the players model if the Fixed costs of Running the game is 50% in a good year then in a bad year when that money is reduced there is less promotion etc of cricket. So the players get less but then there’s the problem
      of not having enough to do the rest of the game this is my issue.

      How can they say the costs are fixed how expensive is it to fix M Strac when he’s injuried CA spend heaps of money getting him better thats an increased cost on a year they don’t need to do that.

      Basically due the up and down nature of the income for Cricket in Australia unlike the NRL and AFL who have fairly clear TV deals which tell them how much they will get for the next few years and pretty easy to work out what the costs are going to be.

      Best option is to have the model which CA proposed which was to give the players a bonus share of profits for any one year. Yes the players don’t know what that will be but they will have a base salary which CA can afford.

      As a fan i am very dissapointed that this has happened the ACA have offered no compromise CA have so the ACA are being a bully.

    • July 13th 2017 @ 7:21am
      bazza said | July 13th 2017 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      The irony is CA are looking after the womens cricketers too who are loss leaders but as a fan i like the fact that CA are paying them a good wage so they can be the best and not need to work which is where the new deal will put them.
      Shield players need to be paid a wage which requires them not to need to work and better than the Average AFL wage if these two things are done in the new deal then it’s prefect. As it generates no money so they don’t deserve extra.

    • July 13th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Pedro said | July 13th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      I have some trouble with the concept of revenue share for the players as opposed to profit share. I understand cricket is not like an ordinary business and it is simplistic to say that the international male players and those in the Big Bash generate all the money and therefore they should receive the bulk of remuneration. Grade cricket, shield cricket and domestic 50 over still have some role in player development although not as much as the past. Talent identification and academies have seen to that.

      Whether shield players should get $200k p/a I don’t know. Is it enough to say that you should get the average wage as a Shield player with the prospect of great riches if you do well enough to make the international ranks. It also seems that Big Bash players are being badly underpaid. It won’t be long before the Big Bash is generating more revenue than international cricket.

      Neither side is coming out well out of this and I don’t imagine the current public support for the players will last. It is hard to imagine the most privileged group of players in the past 100 years will be viewed well if the Ashes series looks under threat.

      • July 13th 2017 @ 9:01am
        jamesb said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        “Whether shield players should get $200k p/a I don’t know.”
        “It also seems that Big Bash players are being badly ”

        They are practically the same players. Our Australian players play Boxing Day and New Years tests at the same time during the big bash.

        • July 13th 2017 @ 10:17am
          Pedro said | July 13th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          Of course many of the Big Bash players are also shield players. There are a number of shield players who don’t play in the Big Bash.. I guess the issue is how do you remunerate these players fairly, balancing player development against bleeding money. Perhaps the $200k average is distorted by shield players only earning much less and those who play shield and Big Bash earning much more. Who knows? Neither side seems keen to publish existing and proposed salaries except for the top players. Maybe we don’t have the right to know these figures but it makes it hard to have an informed debate.

    • July 13th 2017 @ 8:29am
      Pope Paul VII said | July 13th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Maybe Jase the cricketers should invite CA down to the nets and they can sort it out there? Starc bowling to Peever first off.

      • July 13th 2017 @ 10:30am
        Christo the Daddyo said | July 13th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Or seeing this is all about money, maybe a better thing would be to give them a budget to balance? I know who I’d have my money on…

        • July 13th 2017 @ 11:45am
          Ian Whitchurch said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          Given their manifest incompetence, I’m not sure why you’d back Cricket Australia.

          It is over a hundred years since cricket was the premier summer sport in Australia, and cricket still doesn’t own anything. Even the SANFL managed to buy it’s own ground … in 1973.

          • July 13th 2017 @ 12:13pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | July 13th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            And yet one of the criticisms I see on this site is that CA is apparently hoarding millions of dollars. Must know their way around a budget then if that’s true…

        • July 13th 2017 @ 11:53am
          Pope Paul VII said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          I wouldn’t back them to save the game

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