Statement on the MOU with the Australian Cricketers Association
June 30, 2017
Cricket Australia (CA) today acknowledged that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will not be agreed before 1 July and repeated its call for the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) to come to the negotiating table and show genuine flexibility in the best interests of the players and the game.
CA has been disappointed by the ACA’s unwillingness to consider the sensible and necessary change CA has proposed to the fixed share of revenue player payments model.
The model was adopted 20 years ago to address the underpayment of players. The game has changed fundamentally since then: players are now justifiably well rewarded and the modern challenge is the chronic under-funding of the grassroots of the game, particularly junior cricket.
CA believes this challenge can be met while still rewarding players very well for their undoubted contribution. CA and the State and Territory Associations are responsible for the health of the whole game, not just the elite level where more than 70 per cent of all CA funding is currently directed.
In addition to rejecting any change to the existing model, the ACA rejected out of hand and without discussion the very positive remuneration and benefits proposal made by CA in March. The proposal offers significant increases in pay and benefits for all players over the next five years.
CA’s March offer also provides women the option of pursuing a fully professional sporting career and has been hailed as a landmark achievement in gender equity in sport.
A week ago CA offered significant concessions in an effort to reach an agreement by 30 June. These were also rejected out of hand through the media - again without any discussion - by the ACA. Those concessions were a genuine attempt by CA to address key concerns raised by players, including the inclusion of all domestic players alongside internationals in the share of the game’s surplus.
Over the past months CA has repeatedly sought to engage with the ACA in a genuine dialogue and to commence a proper negotiation process. It is regrettable that these efforts have been rebuffed, resulting in the current situation which CA recognises is not in the interests of either the players or the game.
CA is concerned that many players will be without a contract from midnight tonight and this may place significant financial and emotional strain on them and their families. It is unfortunate that the ACA’s hard line and inflexible position has not been conducive to delivering any positive outcomes or certainty for players.
CA has also been dismayed that the ACA’s rhetoric, both publicly and directly to the players, has burdened the current generation of players with an unfair sense of responsibility for defending a decades old pay model that no longer suits the very different needs of the modern game. The existing revenue share model has achieved its purpose and was never intended to be an heirloom passed down over the decades, never to be changed.
The pace of change in the game has never been greater and the competition from other sports never more intense. The key to cricket’s future is strong junior and grassroots cricket, an area of the game that urgently needs a better share of the game’s resources.
CA is now asking elite players to make a contribution towards meeting this need, while still receiving very significant increases in pay and benefits over the next MOU period. CA has also committed to finding savings from across its own operations to be redirected to the grassroots.
The AFL is the latest major sport to demonstrate that it possible to achieve these objectives and also have a genuine partnership with players without the inflexibility built into cricket’s pay model.
CA remains resolute that the fixed revenue share model must change in the broader interests of cricket. It continues to believe that a new MOU can be agreed in the near future if the ACA is prepared to acknowledge the magnitude and pace of change that is occurring and come to the table with a genuine spirit of flexibility.
CA urges the ACA to do so with a renewed sense of urgency in the best interests of players and the game.
CA has previously confirmed that players without contracts will not be eligible to receive back pay when a new MOU is eventually agreed. CA will allocate on a fortnightly basis all of the money it would otherwise be paying to out of contract players to the National Community Facilities Funding Scheme (NCFFS)*. This is expected to be in the order of $1.2 million per fortnight. The NCFFS is an existing fund that supports the establishment of new and refurbished playing and training facilities at grassroots level across Australia
About the National Community Facilities Funding Scheme
Cricket Australia's National Community Facilities Funding Scheme (NCFFS) was established in conjunction with State & Territory Cricket Associations in 2014 to support the establishment of new and refurbished playing and training facilities at grassroots level across Australia.
CA has utilised the NCFFS to partner with local councils, state and territory governments, and local cricket clubs to make a significant impact in the quality and provision of community cricket facilities.
Since its establishment, Australian Cricket has invested $4.5 million into 410 projects worth $41.6 million, which have significantly enhanced cricket infrastructure across Australia and supported increased participation in cricket.
Examples of successful projects include:
- $30,000 investment to deliver a $370,000 five-lane indoor training facility at Caloundra Cricket Club, Queensland. This project was recently awarded Community Project of the Year at Cricket Australia’s A Sport for All Awards.
- $40,000 investment to deliver a $285,000 oval upgrade project at Foster Reserve, Craigieburn, Victoria, to provide a high-quality playing facility and turf wicket block for male and female club participants.
- $22,000 investment to deliver a $90,000 multipurpose training facility with retractable netting at the Bull Paddock Sporting Complex at Tumut, New South Wales.
Highlights of CA’s remuneration and benefits proposal from 21 March
- 35% increase in total player payments
- 58% increase in guaranteed player payments
- Career and welfare support up 110% relative to the current MOU period
- Over 60% more funding for players who promote the game
- An expanded retirement account (34%)
- Benefits that are equivalent across genders
Average payments (incl. BBL) increase by 25% over five years to 2022 (having increased by 63% over past five years):
Domestic men (State & BBL):
Average payments will increase by 18% (having increased 53% over past five years)*:
*On 23 June CA offered to further increase the rate at which domestic player payments increase.
International women (incl. WBBL):
Average payments will increase by 166% over next five years:
Domestic women (State & WBBL):
Average payments will increase by 150% over the next five years:
On top of the above player payments, CA’s original proposal* offered a share any financial surplus of up to $20m. On 23 June CA offered to increase this amount and to include all domestic players in the share of surplus.
*On 23 June CA revised its original offer to:
- increase the international cricket surpluses that are shared with players (from $20M),
- include all domestic players in the sharing arrangements, and
- increase annual pay rises for male state players (with commensurate increases for WNCL and WBBL players to maintain gender pay equity).