Ponting rejects CA's flat fee structure

Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2004, 20:33 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia's leading cricketers will demand through their players' union that they want to stick with a percentage of the game's revenue, rather than a flat rate.

Captain Ricky Ponting answered with a blunt "no" here on Tuesday when asked at a media conference whether he would accept going back to a flat fee structure.

Currently Australia's elite cricketers receive 25 percent of Cricket Australia's (CA) total revenue from gate takings, television rights and other promotional activities.

CA reportedly wants to end a financial agreement under which the players receive a cut of revenues estimated at 28 million dollars (21.5 million USD) in the current season.

Ponting said the issue was a distraction as Australia's One-day team prepares for Wednesday's must-win Limited Overs match against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Aussie skipper said he was happy to leave the negotiations with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).

"We have (ACA president) Tim May and the cricketers' association in place to deal with those things," he said.

"He hears the players' voice and I'm sure he'll do his best to make sure it doesn't go back that way (to a flat rate).

"Having spoken to him already he's pretty keen for us to have the 25 percent."

May on Tuesday described the revenue-share arrangement as crucial to the relationship between administrators and players at a time when the Australian team was enjoying the most successful and profitable era in its history.

"It is a vital pillar in our relationship with Cricket Australia," he said.

"We haven't received a proposal from Cricket Australia in regards to the player payment pool, and it's inappropriate to comment about any proposal we haven't received," May said.

However, he made it clear the players were not about to give up their hard-won status and go back to the days which spawned the World Series Cricket player revolution in 1977.

"The players are a partner in this game," May said. "Cricket Australia may have other ideas. We'll have to wait until we receive a proposal, and before then it is inappropriate for me to say anything else."

The current four-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CA and the ACA is due to expire on June 30, 2005, and preliminary negotiations have already begun to thrash out the new deal.

"We and the ACA are putting together a timetable for a set of meetings," CA's Public Affairs General Manager Peter Young said on Tuesday.

"We've discussed what the appropriate process for holding the discussions should be, and who's going to be involved in them, and as we move through that we'll start talking about specific details.

"We won't be detailing our discussions through the media. We'll be holding our discussions face-to-face with Tim May and his team."

Young said: "Australia's got the No.1 cricket team in the world and it's appropriate that they should be paid accordingly.

"The detail of how that works through the next MOU is something that will be sorted out over the next six months."

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