Play­ers con­sider S Africa tour boy­cott over talks break­down

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Aus­tralian Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive meets to­day to de­cide whether play­ers will boy­cott this month’s Aus­tralia A tour to South Africa af­ter a fail­ure to strike a new pay deal with Cricket Aus­tralia.

CA and the play­ers’ union both con­firmed they had failed to reach an agree­ment on a new Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing be­fore Fri­day’s dead­line, leav­ing play­ers un­em­ployed and threat­en­ing fix­tures in­clud­ing this year’s Ashes series. The ACA likened the ran­corous split in Aus­tralian cricket as the worst since the tem­pes­tu­ous days of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket rev­o­lu­tion of the 1970s.

Lead­ing fast bowler Josh Ha­zle­wood said the break­down in pay ne­go­ti­a­tions has left a bit­ter taste with the play­ers, adding “we are, ob­vi­ously, will­ing to do what we need to.”

The play­ers’ union said it will meet in Sydney to­day to dis­cuss a more de­tailed re­sponse to the con­tract stand­off.

Among the is­sues that will be can­vassed will be the avail­abil­ity of play­ers for the Aus­tralia A tour to South Africa sched­uled to be­gin on July 8, the ACA said and the em­ploy­ment rights for the more than 200 play­ers now out of con­tract and un­em­ployed as of yes­ter­day.

ACA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Alis­tair Ni­chol­son said the union had planned for the pos­si­bil­ity that no deal would be reached and had put in place a num­ber of mea­sures to deal with the as­so­ci­ated con­tin­gen­cies. Among them have been the es­tab­lish­ment of a play­ers’ sup­port fund to lend di­rect fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to those out-of-con­tract men and women. Ni­chol­son said the avail­abil­ity of play­ers for the up­com­ing Aus­tralia A Tour of South Africa would also be dis­cussed at the meet­ing. Ha­zle­wood said wak­ing up ef­fec­tively un­em­ployed on Satur­day was “a dif­fer­ent feel”.

“To be con­tracted for the best part of 10 years, nearly for me, it’s go­ing to be a dif­fer­ent stage and we’ll see how it pans out,” Ha­zle­wood told Fair­fax Me­dia.

Along with the play­ers, fix­tures are also at risk in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s Test tour to Bangladesh from Au­gust, the one-day in­ter­na­tional series in In­dia in Septem­ber and the home Ashes series against Eng­land later this year. CA and the play­ers’ union have hit an im­passe af­ter the board at­tempted to scrap the 20-year-old ar­range­ment of giv­ing play­ers a fixed share of rev­enues, in favour of di­vid­ing sur­pluses amongst elite play­ers and of­fer­ing a pay rise. Lead­ing play­ers hit out at the move to scrap rev­enue-shar­ing, with Aus­tralia bats­man David Warner in­sist­ing they “won’t budge” and threat­en­ing strike ac­tion dur­ing the Ashes.

Fol­low­ing the missed dead­line, play­ers who are on multi-year con­tracts that go beyond June 30 will con­tinue to be paid, and will be re­quired to play and train as be­fore.

Play­ers were due to as­sem­ble in Bris­bane for train­ing to­mor­row ahead of the South Africa trip. The first tour match is sup­posed to start on July 12. Aus­tralia’s women’s team are cur­rently com­pet­ing in the World Cup in Eng­land, but they have a spe­cial con­tract that will run un­til the tour­na­ment is com­plete. — AFP

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