MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s cricketers rejected the board’s offer of a revised pay deal on Friday as the bitter dispute over a revenue-sharing model rumbled on with just a week to go before the current agreement expires.
Australia’s top cricketers face being locked out unless a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) is struck between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) before the end of the month.
At the heart of the dispute is a long-standing agreement that gives the players a fixed percentage of the revenue of the game, a deal which CA says prevents them from sufficiently investing in the grassroots.
In a letter to ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson, CA executive general manager Kevin Roberts made the new offer.
“Player feedback suggests that the sharing of international cricket surpluses with male and female domestic players and the level of pay increases for male state players are critical issues for them,” Roberts wrote in the letter posted on the CA website.
“We are therefore writing to indicate that CA is prepared to address these issues to help achieve a new MoU.”
Unless the impasse ends next week, the upcoming Australia A tour of South Africa, a two-test series in Bangladesh and a limited-overs tour of India are under threat from the dispute, with the Ashes also looming at the end of the year.
“The ACA has advised players not to sign,” the players’ body said in a statement.
”The letter provided to players today from CA does not accurately reflect how far apart the parties remain with a week to go. The parties have not reached agreement on many fundamental issues.
“The contract offers do not contain Revenue Sharing for all players, and are not what they appear to be. They do not include crucial information regarding terms and conditions.”
ACA president Greg Dyer said in an earlier statement that it was time for mediation.
“With only seven days until the June 30 deadline, the ACA calls for emergency mediation to be conducted at CEO level,” Dyer said.
“With this, the ACA continues to search for ways to resolve the dispute. We are motivated by a sense of duty to the game and its players and frustration at the current process.”
Dyer added that a number of “common sense and reasonable requests” had been rejected by CA, including the release of financial information and forecasts.
“The players are completely united behind the ACA in these negotiation terms,” Australia captain Steve Smith said on Friday in a video posted by the ACA on Twitter.
“We know that they’re working incredibly hard for us to get the best outcome for the game.”
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Peter Rutherford/John O'Brien