Cricket’s players’ association president Greg Dyer has declared there must never again be a pay dispute of this year’s magnitude and has called on Cricket Australia to review its “behaviours and tactics”.
The stoush over pay and benefits midway through the year when the memorandum of understanding expired led to about 200 cricketers being unemployed for a month, as relations between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association all but collapsed. Players voted to scrap the Australia A tour of South Africa, at a time when CA insisted the set-percentage pay model, embraced since 1997, be significantly altered.
There were even fears this summer’s Ashes series could be jeopardised until there was a breakthrough in negotiations, with players, set to pocket $500 million over the next five years, declaring they had won the battle. The new MOU included men and women for the first time.
In his letter to members in the ACA’s annual report, to be released on Thursday, Dyer said the players had ensured they remained a “partner” in the sport.
“Throughout, the players and the ACA held true to the principle that the players need to be real partners in the game, rather than mere employees, and the final result was a strong affirmation of that principle,” he said.
“All involved from the ACA and all of our players are to be congratulated on a great outcome for cricket. But we must never allow such a process to happen again. At the ACA, we commit to a full review of the MOU process to determine how all this was allowed to occur and how it may be avoided for all future negotiations.
“Further, it is my intention as president of the ACA to continue to ask the questions that challenge the sport to keep getting better. Whether on the field or off, the ACA stands committed to playing an active role in seeking improvement and reform where needed.
“I assume a similar review process is underway at CA, which should include consideration of the behaviours and tactics employed by those involved, both collectively and individually.”
It’s understood the CA executive has conducted its internal review and this will be presented to the board of directors at next week’s annual general meeting in Brisbane.
However, CA has questioned whether the ACA has completed its own review, claiming the ACA went public too often through the pay dispute.
“This [MOU] is truly a historic outcome for women’s cricket and, in fact, for women’s sport more generally, with remuneration principles now embedded, which can help to deliver a truly professional sport,” Dyer said.
“The next challenge for women’s cricket is to deepen the ranks of players across the country and to meet the growing interest and demand for participation with strong and well-structured opportunity at the local level.”
I assume a similar review process is underway at CA, which should include consideration of the behaviours and tactics employed by those involved, both collectively and individually.
– ACA president Greg Dyer
Dyer welcomed the in-principle agreement brokered last weekend by all nations to have a Test championship running within three years but questioned whether enough was being done to ensure Test cricket remained healthy. CA chief James Sutherland has long wanted greater context for Tests and one-day international series leading into the World Cup.
“Where compromise is required, this should be imposed on the shorter formats of the game, with strong preference given to Test and first-class cricket,” Dyer said.
“Test cricket certainly remains the priority of all Australian players. It is, of course, the purest form of the game from which the others have evolved. It is self-evident that the shorter forms will not survive the ongoing decline of the longer form, given the playing skills-base required.
“The ICC [which is really just the member nations, of course] must look to produce a Test Championship of the highest quality, with mechanisms in place to lift the quality of all nations. Test cricket should strive to have match fees and overall earnings of players greater than the potential earnings from any other format.”