Sutherland calls for pay talks lock-in
Cricket Australia chief calls for last-ditch 'intense' negotiations with players' union to resolve dispute or arbitration will follow
Andrew Ramsey Senior Writer
27 July 2017, 03:31 PM AEST
Cricket Australia has imposed a deadline on the stalled Memorandum of Understanding negotiations and indicated that if a heads of agreement is not reached by early next week the matter will be taken to a formal arbitration process.
CA Chief Executive James Sutherland told a media conference today the ongoing dispute had reached the point where next month's proposed Test tour to Bangladesh, a subsequent one-day series in India and "dare I say it", the upcoming Ashes series against England are potentially at risk.
Expressing his concern about the delays and what he claimed was a "lack of urgency" being shown towards reaching an outcome on the dispute which has been playing out for months, Sutherland called on the Australian Cricketers' Association to enter into a period of intensive negotiations over coming days.
If that process has not delivered a sufficient level of consensus to deliver a Heads of Agreement, the matter will be referred immediately to an independent arbitrator with CA pledging to "accept the umpires' decision."
Sutherland dismissed the proposal put forward last week by the players' union as a possible 'peace plan' as delivering an outcome that was detrimental to future investment in grassroots cricket, and has called for the ACA to address the impasse as a matter of priority.
He said today's announcement by CA would enable players to be re-contracted on an interim basis at the start of arbitration, and to remain contracted until the final MOU can be signed.
Under those short-term contracting arrangements until a new agreement is reached, men would be employed under the terms of the previous MOU which expired on June 30, while Australia and domestic women's players – who were not included in that MOU – would be contracted according to CA's proposed new model.
"I've been involved in the negotiations over the last month and while there's been some progress in that time, I've had some increasing concerns about whether everyone is going at the same pace and dealing with this issue with the same level of urgency," Sutherland said.
"I acknowledge the ACA has put forward a document known as a peace plan, it claims that there could be something like $30 million that flow to grassroots but like any plan, the devil is in the detail.
"And certainly, as we do our analysis on that plan, we find that cricket as whole is worse off and certainly our ability to fund greater investment in grassroots is compromised by the way that plan is put together."