Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland threatens Australian players with unemployment

The CA has issued its warning to the players.

James Sutherland CEO Cricket Australia
James Sutherland CEO Cricket Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia’s (CA) chief executive James Sutherland, has threatened the Australian players with unemployment in case the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) fails to negotiate a new MoU by the deadline. As per reports, a letter was forwarded to all male as well as female contracted players on Friday, Sutherland stated that the board and state associations are planning to present contract offers to CA and state players before the expiry of the current MoU on June 30.

However, the terms of the contracts are to be similar to the current pay proposal, which was rejected by the ACA two weeks ago. If MoU agreement is not be reached by the deadline, Sutherland wrote, that the board will not be offering payment to the players under any other model, whether it be a rollover of the current MoU or the use of tournament-by-tournament contracts.


“In the absence of the ACA negotiating a new MoU, players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18,” Sutherland mentioned. “Players with existing multi-year State or BBL contracts that expire after 2017 will be required to play in 2017-18 and will be paid the retainer specified in their contract, regardless of whether a new MOU is in place; and in the absence of a new MoU, the Australian Women’s World Cup Squad will be paid in advance of the June/July World Cup and will be employed until the end of the event,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“To be very clear, in the absence of a new MoU, CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired,” he added.

CA’s response

Along with this letter a list of CA’s counter of the ACA’s alternative pay proposal has also been attached, which featured an equal split of the game’s revenue according to which 22.5% to go to the players, 22.5% to go to the game’s lower levels, and the remaining 55% left for CA to run the game. Sutherland wrote the ACA’s response “seeks to inappropriately expand its role as a players’ representative body into that of a de-facto administrator”.

While maintaining CA’s view that the current MoU structure is outdated and it limits the board’s ability to oppositely endow the development of the game around Australia, Sutherland insisted that some players have expressed discontent about the ACA’s reluctance to look closely at the new pay offer. On Thursday, pacer Mitchell Starc said that none of the nation’s top players would consider a contract offer until a MoU deal is reached.

Sutherland also wrote, “I understand that some have been made to feel that accepting the relatively minor but necessary changes to the existing pay model, while being paid more, would somehow be ‘letting the side down’.”

“This is nonsense. Nothing decided by today’s players binds future generations, just as nothing decided by past players should govern current players’ decisions concerning their own careers and welfare. Future players will have their own opportunities to negotiate an MoU that suits them and the circumstances of the game at the time,” he stated.

Strained relations

Over the last few years, relations between the board and the ACA have progressively worsened. Particularly it started back in 2014 after the departure of the former chief executive Paul Marsh.

“For at least five months, Cricket Australia has been unambiguously clear that the twenty-year-old pay model needs to be adapted in the next MoU to reflect the changing landscape of the game,” Sutherland wrote. “In particular, CA has identified the need to significantly boost funding for grassroots cricket.

“CA firmly believes that the proposal is a fair deal for all players. It is therefore surprising and regrettable that the ACA is yet to engage in negotiations on any element of it. Instead, the ACA spent weeks developing a response which merely seeks to defend and entrench the status quo.

“It is clear to me that the only way forward is for the ACA to engage in focused and constructive negotiations based on the proposal put forward by CA in March,” mentioned Sutherland.