Making History In All The Wrong Ways
In a highly controversial and unprecedented move, Australian players have managed to boycott team Australia A’s upcoming tour to South Africa, which was scheduled for later this month. This is the first time in Australian Cricket history that players have boycotted a tour. The reason for the boycott: a pay dispute with Cricket Australia.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association said the decision was made amidst great frustration and was definitely not one made flippantly. This after more than 200 players have been left in the lurch and are now effectively unemployed.
ACA went on to say that Cricket Australia refused to come to the mediation table with possible solutions to the crisis. It’s impossible for any compromise to be reached without clear communication and the necessary mediation. Hence the drastic decision. ACA supports the decisions by the players, viewing the boycott to be a completely selfless act in support of others who have committed themselves to the game.
Cricket Australia responded by saying that it was surprised to learn that the boycott was indeed a go-ahead, as negotiations had indicated that players would continue with the tour despite not experiencing a particularly joyful outcome in their favour.
Events Leading Up To The Boycott
According to ACA, Australia’s cricketers are owed $58 million by Cricket Australia – with a lump sum payment being due in October 2017. Cricket Australia has proposed that 50% of the money be carried over into the next pay deal – leaving many players without income.
Practically, this comes down to Cricket Australia wanting to utilise money earned by players in the 2012 – 2017 period for the salaries of players who will be competing in the next five-year cycle.
Cricket Australia has approached high-level players with individual contract offers, no doubt trying to divide and conquer. This has failed dismally, with players refusing to take the sell-out bait. The fact that James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, has refused to join talks with the Australian Cricketers’ Association is a very telling one indeed.
The Ripple Effect
As a result of the proposed boycott and failed negotiations, several sponsorship deals are also now hanging in the balance – effectively turning a bad situation into a catastrophic one. Only time will tell whether Cricket Australia will have the sound sense to step up to the pitch in time to salvage a potentially crippling turn of events.
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