Johnson says Sutherland’s absence a sticking point
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.