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