BIT­TER FEUD ENDS

Aus­tralia ‘pay war’ re­solved, en­sur­ing tours will go on

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIA’S bruis­ing and pro­tracted cricket pay dis­pute was fi­nally re­solved yes­ter­day with play­ers and man­age­ment agree­ing on a new “in-prin­ci­ple” deal, en­sur­ing up­com­ing se­ries against Bangladesh, In­dia and Eng­land can go ahead.

“To­day’s agree­ment is the re­sult of sen­si­ble com­pro­mises by both par­ties,” said Cricket Aus­tralia chief James Suther­land, adding that the “core is­sues” had been worked out.

He added that it would “re­store much cer­tainty to the game of cricket.”

“It will al­low all play­ers — state and in­ter­na­tional play­ers — to be con­tracted im­me­di­ately and it will also al­low the all-im­por­tant tour of Bangladesh to pro­ceed as planned.”

At the heart of the dis­pute has been the di­vi­sive is­sue of rev­enue-shar­ing, a model that was largely re­tained un­der the new deal.

The bad-tem­pered stand-off has been rum­bling for months, rat­tling the game and badly strain­ing the play­ers’ re­la­tion­ship with the gov­ern­ing body.

It left 230 crick­eters un­em­ployed since the end of June when their con­tracts ex­pired, putting the Test tour to Bangladesh this month un­der se­ri­ous threat.

But Steve Smith will now lead his team to Dhaka on Aug 18, with a one-day tour to In­dia in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber and the show­piece home Ashes se­ries against Eng­land, be­gin­ning in Novem­ber, also now safe.

An Aus­tralian A tour to South Africa last month was called off af­ter play­ers an­nounced a boy­cott.

“Re­la­tion­ships with the game have been tested and I know that has been a bit of a turn-off for fans,” added Suther­land.

“Both par­ties ac­knowl­edge and re­gret that. We are restor­ing cer­tainty and be­gin­ning to re­pair re­la­tion­ships, es­pe­cially with the fans. We want the fo­cus to be back on the cricket.”

Suther­land had warned last week that un­less ne­go­ti­a­tions pro­duced a com­pro­mise by this week, he would take the mat­ter to ar­bi­tra­tion.

This sparked new ur­gency to strike a deal, with talks con­tin­u­ing over the week­end.

An an­nounce­ment was widely ex­pected on Tues­day or Wed­nes­day, but it took longer than ex­pected for the two sides to sign off on the deal. AFP

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