DEAL HALTS PAY WAR Agreement after weekend of intense talks puts Ashes back on track
CRICKET’S finally over.
After months of rage and backbiting, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland and his Australian Cricketers Association counterpart Alistair Nicholson have agreed on all key terms and are set to announce at a joint press conference as early as today that a pay deal has been reached.
Only a monumental lastminute spanner in the works could derail a final agreement being signed off now after both uncivil war is parties were last night working feverishly on finalising the very last details and aiming for a declaration to be made today in Melbourne.
Despite – or perhaps due to – the imminent threat of court arbitration, the Ashes have been saved and Steve Smith will all but certainly be leading his Test team to Bangladesh in late August.
It’s understood the players will get a revenue share model in the new memorandum of understanding, but with a significant makeover that Cricket Australia believes will allow them more financial flexibility to administer to the grassroots of the game.
The ACA’s other non- negotiable was to insist on back pay, and it appears CA has also been willing to make this compromise in the interests of shaking hands on this messy affair. Back pay to cover the salaries of male and female players left uncontracted since June 30 will cost CA a couple of million dollars, but it’s nothing compared with the irreparable damage that was hanging over the game if commercial partners walked away, and the Ashes was compromised.
That’s not to say that the nine- month saga hasn’t left enormous damage.
Recently retired greats Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson have already communicated their fears that re- lationships and trust between players and administrators have been left broken.
An Australia A tour to South Africa was sacrificed and only time will tell the impact that will have on the career aspirations of Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell and on the Ashes preparations of the Test team.
Intense negotiations taken place since Friday.
The two parties were locked in a room until after midnight on Sunday and were back negotiating by 10am yesterday.
It was the surest sign yet the have CA and the ACA were rocketing towards a resolution and there was a united focus that had been lacking for the past nine months.
It is understood key issues such as revenue share, back pay and the adjustment ledger have been thrashed out and both parties are comfortable an understanding has been reached. All the important numbers have been crunched and the back has been broken on a dispute that has been the most significant the game has encountered since World Series Cricket.
BIG HITTERS: Deandra Dottin hits out for the Brisbane Heat during a WBBL clash at the Gabba last summer.