Hobart Huricanes player Tim Paine has issued an apology after Melbourne Stars President Eddie McGuire threatened to take legal action against him for questioning the Stars in relation to the KFC Big Bash League's salary cap (listen to Paine's statement above).
BBL's Executive General Manager of Commercial Mike McKenna has also made a statement after McGuire unleashed a tirade on Melbourne radio earlier today (scroll down to listen).
"Tim’s comments were disappointing and he’s been reminded today of the standards expected of all Australian cricketers," said McKenna.
“There is absolutely nothing to suggest any BBL team is in breach of the salary cap.
“Cricket Australia, through our Integrity Unit, takes compliance with the salary cap and additional services agreements very seriously and applies the same standards across the league regardless of the player or team.
“Given Tim’s public apology to the Melbourne Stars, we now consider the matter closed and look forward to the BBL semi-final at the MCG tomorrow night.”
Since Paine issued his apology, the Stars have confirmed they will accept it and move on.
"The Melbourne Stars have this evening accepted the formal apology issued by the Hobart Hurricane’s Tim Paine and will not be taking any further action," said Melbourne Stars CEO Clint Cooper.
“While Tim’s comments have caused damage to our brand and questioned the integrity of all those involved with the Melbourne Stars, we accept his public apology and the retraction of his statement. There is no place in our game for non-factual remarks about such serious issues regardless of it being 'light-hearted' or not.
"The integrity of our game is paramount and we take accusations like this very seriously. We will continue to protect the interests of all Melbourne Stars players, staff and Directors against any such accusations in future.”
The first semi-final starts at 7:45pm on Tuesday at the MCG, purchase tickets here.
Earlier On Monday
Melbourne Stars president Eddie McGuire has threatened to take Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper Tim Paine to court over allegations of salary cap rorting.
The Tasmanian said the Stars were not popular among their BBL peers but it wasn’t that claim that has enraged their powerbrokers.
It was Paine’s accusation that the Stars exceeded the salary cap that raised the ire of McGuire and CEO Clint Cooper.
"There's obviously a never-ending salary cap there that the Stars seem to run by," Paine reportedly told SEN's Cricket show.
"And the rest of us live by another set of rules."
McGuire hit back this morning on the Triple M Hot Breakfast radio show, saying that he will go through Paine’s comments with a fine-toothed comb and “will take legal action”.
“I’m happy to go to court and put our bona fides in front of a judge and have them tested in a court of law,” McGuire told Triple M. “Our club has for three years built itself up. We’re the only club that reported a profit in the first year because we went out and got sponsors and built it like a professional sporting organisation.
“We put in facilities for the players ... we signed players. Not on one-year contracts, but on three-year contracts.”
McGuire also spoke with great pride how the Stars were able to recruit players that, in some cases, no-one else wanted.
“Muirhead, who we recruited a month ago from St Kilda via Altona, Hodge who was on the scrapheap of cricket, Cameron White, last night who smashed them (England) for the third time in a row and who was kicked off the Cricket Australia contract list, and every other player out there who we have coached with Greg Shipperd and all the gang,” said McGuire.
“Ian Chappell goes through as our director of coaching and list management and finds the right players. Luke Wright, who no-one even knew and they thought was a pie-thrower three years ago.
“So that is a great insult.”
The enraged President, who is also president of Collingwood Football Club in the Australian Football League, warned Paine ahead of Tuesday night’s semi-final in no uncertain terms.
“I don’t know who Tim Paine thinks he is, a modern-day Kevin Sheedy or something, ‘mate just stand behind there with your overgrown gloves and try to catch a couple’,” McGuire said, adding that if Paine dropped a catch he would invade the ground and let him know all about it.
“Now I take the upmost umbrage to this because I live very solidly over 15 years standing against any type of skulduggery in the salary cap in another form of life called the AFL. So if this clown wants to just get up and sprout then he’s going to cop it right between the eyes. We’ve had enough.
“We’ll get out there hopefully tomorrow night and hopefully flog these blokes and when we’re going off the ground we’ll all be pointing at him.”
McGuire also said the comments showed great disrespect for Stars CEO Clinton Cooper, while lambasting people who question successful sporting organisations and often make incorrect assumptions.
“It sh-ts me in sport when people do things the right way and then suddenly everyone’s pulling away ‘oh it’s because they’ve got that…’, maybe (it’s) because we get off our arse and do things, and build a great club.
“And for Clinton Cooper, one of the best young CEOs in Australian sport, that’s just not on.”
Cricket Australia issued a statement on Saturday saying it takes a strict stance on all aspects of salary-cap compliance and only approved third-party deals it considered to be ‘a legitimate, commercially based arrangement’.
“Clubs must demonstrate to CA's satisfaction that the agreement is reasonable and appropriate, the player is being paid a fair market rate, and the proposed services are delivered,” CA said, in a statement.
“CA demands both sides, team management and players, sign statutory declarations that all payment arrangements are documented and disclosed.”
Adding to the tension, Paine also said other BBL teams were hoping Hobart could beat Melbourne at the MCG on Tuesday night to keep the Stars winless in BBL semi-finals.
"We're hoping to be the third team to knock 'em off in a semi ... we're looking to do everyone else in the competition a favour," he said.