Players union- Cricket Australia on warpath

Published: Monday, March 21, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australia's cricketers' union said negotiations with Cricket Australia (CA) over distribution of games revenue had reached an impasse.

Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive Tim May said on Monday that talks between the ACA and CA were at a stalemate after the CA board of directors rejected a proposal endorsed by the respective organisations CEOs.

May said talks had reached a critical stage as CA continued with efforts to dilute the players' share of the games revenues.

Under the current memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two sides, players receive 25 percent of Australian cricket revenue, with the governing body seeking to reduce the players' share to 23 percent.

May said despite making significant progress during negotiations with CA chief executive James Sutherland, proposals developed in conjunction with Sutherland had been rejected by the CA board.

"The ACA has at all times approached these negotiations with the intention of balancing the interests of the game with those of the players," May said in a statement released on Monday.

"We believe that our rejected proposal properly reflects such balance.

"To achieve this balance, the players have committed in excess of two million dollars ($1.58 million) from the player payment pool to be dedicated to junior cricket development.

May said the head body had rejected the goodwill gesture from the players' association.

"The present players have taken team performances and the value of crickets major revenue streams to unsurpassed levels in this country," he said.

"It is disappointing that CA seek to 'reward' the players contribution by reducing the players share of the games revenues.

"Such actions hardly act as an incentive for players to grow the game revenues and satisfy and support sponsor initiatives.

"Other sports in Australia continually attempt to make their sports more attractive to elite athletes yet it appears that cricket's governors are doing their best to dilute the attractiveness of playing the game at its elite level," May said.

The players' advocate said that based upon ACA projections, CA and its state associations at June 30 this year will have accumulated profits in excess of over 80 million dollars ($63 million).

"Despite significant increases in revenue projected for the next MoU, Cricket Australia and its state associations continue to mount an argument that the game cannot afford player payments," May said.

"The ACA and its members deserve more respect. Cricket Australia should extend a spirit that is based upon respect for ones opponents to the negotiating table."

May said in the statement that the ACA has demanded that the Cricket Australia board revisit their position regarding the player payment pool as a matter of priority to ensure that negotiations can be successfully completed prior to the expiration of the current MOU on June 30 this year.

CA public affairs general manager Peter Young said CA remained confident a resolution would be reached before the mid-year deadline.

"As far as we're concerned the MOU discussions are going well. We just need a little bit of time for checking with our stakeholders," Young said on Monday.

"We're very conscious about our timelines on this and are keen to resolve it ahead of those timelines.

"We're very focused on that and there's a lot of detail still to be discussed and agreed."

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