Ex­tend MoU for Oz’s sakes

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralia’s crick­eters and board should ex­tend their pre­vi­ous agree­ment by 12 months while they at­tempt to find a so­lu­tion to a bit­ter pay dis­pute, for­mer cap­tain Michael Clarke said yes­ter­day.

The pre­vi­ous Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) ex­pired at mid­night on Fri­day with no sign of a deal in place, leav­ing around 230 lead­ing crick­eters with­out con­tracts and the fate of fu­ture tours in limbo.

Once the dead­line passed, Aus­tralia’s play­ers threat­ened to boy­cott an “A” team tour of South Africa later this month un­less a new agree­ment was struck with Cricket Aus­tralia be­fore­hand.

“What needs to hap­pen is keep the cur­rent MoU for the next 12 months and al­low the play­ers to get back to what they do best,” Clarke told re­porters at Nine Net­work’s mar­ket­ing launch for the Ashes.

“Cricket Aus­tralia, the ACA (Aus­tralian Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion), please go be­hind closed doors and sort this in pri­vate.

“The play­ers want to play... let’s al­low them to play while this stuff gets sorted out in the back­ground.”

At the heart of the ac­ri­mo­nious dis­pute is Cricket Aus­tralia’s (CA) in­sis­tence that the two-decade-old model, un­der which play­ers get a fixed per­cent­age of rev­enue, should be jet­ti­soned.

CA be­lieves the rev­enue­share model is un­fit for mod­ern times and is starv­ing grass-roots cricket of fund­ing, while play­ers say it has un­der­pinned the game’s growth and pros­per­ity over the past 20 years.

“I don’t want the Aus­tralian play­ers to be un­pre­pared be­cause they have been con­cen­trat­ing on some­thing else; give them 12 months and let them con­cen­trate on the cricket,” Clarke said. “I don’t want to see any cricket missed.

“There will be a com­pro­mise. The ACA and Cricket Aus­tralia will find a way to make this work.”

The ACA has called on CA chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land to come to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble but he has re­mained silent since email­ing play­ers in May, in­form­ing them they would be un­em­ployed if they failed to agree to a new MoU by the June 30 dead­line.

“It does seem very strange. You’ve got to won­der what the hell is go­ing on,” for­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain Ian Chap­pell said. “They’ve done a few strange things and Suther­land not be­ing in­volved is one of them. I don’t see a re­ally good rea­son for him not to be.”

Fur­ther tour­na­ments, in­clud­ing a two-test tour of Bangladesh and a one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries in In­dia also re­main in doubt if the dis­pute con­tin­ues to linger on.

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