John­son says Suther­land’s ab­sence a stick­ing point

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - CHRIS HOOK

FOR­MER Test great Mitchell John­son has joined calls for Cricket Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land to help re­solve the im­passe in the pay dis­pute with the Aus­tralian Crick­eters Association.

“I would have thought the CEO would be right up front in the trenches in this sit­u­a­tion,” John­son said. “It’s dis­ap­point- ing what’s hap­pened, and I think the whole sit­u­a­tion has been dealt with pretty poorly to get to this point, and I think it’s sad it’s got to this sit­u­a­tion.

“The fans are go­ing through this not sure what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the sum­mer.”

The stand­off came to a head with the ex­piry of the pre­vi­ous mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing over pay last Fri­day, which means 230 men’s and women’s crick­eters from state to in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives are un­em­ployed, throw­ing into doubt this sum­mer’s Ashes series, an Aus­tralia A men’s tour of South Africa due to start later this week, and next month’s Test tour of Bangladesh.

De­spite re­peated calls for his in­volve­ment, Suther­land has left ne­go­ti­a­tions to CA ex­ec­u­tive gen­eral man­ager Kevin Roberts, lead­ing ACA pres­i­dent Greg Dyer to ac­cuse the body of not be­ing “fair dinkum” about ne­go­ti­a­tions.

How­ever, a CA spokesman said the “ne­go­ti­a­tions team re­mains ready and will­ing to dis­cuss a new MoU”.

The sport’s gov­ern­ing body and the play­ers’ association are dead­locked over the is­sue of rev­enue shar­ing, in­tro­duced in 1997 and which CA ar­gues could be scrapped in favour of pay rises, al­low­ing in­creased in­vest­ment at grass­roots level.

The ACA fears this could dis­ad­van­tage fu­ture play­ers, point­ing out that only a per­cent­age of rev­enues was shared with play­ers.

ACA ex­ec­u­tive and for­mer Test all- rounder Shane Wat­son said the play­ers were be­ing “in­cred­i­bly rea­son­able” and also called on Suther­land to en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions.

James Suther­land.

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