Women in tight spot

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

OUT of pocket play­ers are ready to fight Cricket Aus­tralia over their re­fusal to back pay them for the ugly pay war that now threat­ens to send women’s crick­eters into debt.

With their cur­rent con­tracts now well and truly ex­pired, un­em­ployed fe­male play­ers across the coun­try will be forced to ap­ply to the Aus­tralian Crick­eters As­so­ci­a­tion for a monthly loan next week to pay rent and meet other vi­tal ex­penses; such is their level of des­per­a­tion.

How­ever, that loan will need to be paid back to the ACA once the war is over, and com­bined with Cricket Aus­tralia’s stri­dent stance to not back pay for time elapsed be­tween MOUs, even the ad­vent of a new deal could leave many young women’s play­ers fight­ing to get out of the red.

The av­er­age fe­male crick­eter earned just $ 22,000 a year last sea­son and is the group un­der the fiercest fi­nan­cial pres­sure the longer this pro­tracted saga drags on.

Dec­o­rated for­mer Aus­tralian crick­eter Jodie Fields is the ACA’s fe­male op­er­a­tions man­ager and be­lieves CA’s re­solve to fun­nel money they oth­er­wise would have owed play­ers into a grass­roots fund – es­ti­mated to be worth $ 1.2 mil­lion a fort­night – is a ne­go­ti­a­tion tac­tic with huge ram­i­fi­ca­tions for young crick­eters.

“I think that was al­ways go­ing to be a big ne­go­ti­at­ing ploy by Cricket Aus­tralia to bring out the ‘ we’re not go­ing to pay back pay,” Fields told The Daily Tele­graph.

“But that’s why we feel it’s im­por­tant play­ers keep show­ing good faith and turn­ing up to train­ing, be­cause we feel that if they’re go­ing to keep con­tin­u­ing to work and do what they’re re­quired to as play­ers, then they should be back paid.

“That’s some­thing the ACA won’t be back­ing down from.”

Cricket Aus­tralia has lu­cra­tive con­tract of­fers on the ta­ble for fe­male play­ers and ar­gue it’s not their re­spon­si­bil­ity to back pay play­ers who have the op­tion of ac­cept­ing deals.

“CA has pre­vi­ously con­firmed that play­ers with­out con­tracts will not be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive back pay when a new MOU is even­tu­ally agreed,” a state­ment said.

Fields said she ad­mired fe­male play­ers around the coun­try for their unity amid enor­mous stress and anx­i­ety.

“The play­ers un­der­stand broader pic­ture,” she said. the

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