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Ending the cricket war is just the beginning for Sutherland and Nicholson

James Sutherland and Alistair Nicholson have announces the end of the pay dispute. (Mal Fairclough /AFP/Getty Images)
Expert
3rd August, 2017
17

Thankfully the summer of cricket has been saved, but for Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland and his Australian Cricket Association counterpart Alastair Nicholson, their futures in sporting administration have been severely scarred.

It’s inconceivable it’s taken ten months to complete a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) when for the last 20 years there’s been close cooperation between the two bodies.

As a result 230 Australian men and women international and first class cricketers haven’t been paid for over four weeks and were told in no uncertain terms the longer this rubbish continued, no lost income would be paid.

The players retaliated by calling off the important Australia A tour of South Africa. That in itself was an embarrassment to Australia’s standing in world cricket. Also in jeopardy were tours to Bangladesh and India, and the Ashes tour and Big Bash League – the biggest money spinners of all – no certainty.

What an unholy mess set up by two pig-headed negotiators, and it all started with Sutherland wanting to can the MoU to make all the cricketers employees.

The one thing sporting administrators never do is penalise their greatest assets, which are the cricketers – without them there’s obviously no sport. What possessed a seasoned and well-liked person like Sutherland to tread that path is mind-blowing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

It hasn’t surfaced yet, but it’s been Australian captain Steve Smith’s communication skills that broke the deadlock. So it’s now fixed, with both sides eventually giving some ground that should have been conceded at least eight months ago.

The cricketers will receive half a billion dollars all up – that translates to 30 per cent of all revenue, up from 26 per cent – and the new MoU will last for five years.

The top men will receive around $1.5 million and the women $200,000, which is a massive increase but still light on to what the women deserve.

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What the hell, let’s not niggle over semantics, at last there’s peace. But if James Sutherland or Alastair Nicholson are having any thoughts of applying for another job outside their current employment, it wouldn’t be a shrewd move. Their negative involvement over the last ten months won’t be forgotten in a hurry – if ever.