It's over. The pay dispute which has dragged on for months between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association has ended, and ostensibly, it appears to be a win for the players and the formidable ACA chief Alistair Nicholson.
When asked at a press conference whether the players had more or less got everything they wanted, Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland deflected the question and said both parties did not get all that they wanted. But there's little doubt the players fared better.
CA wanted to move away from the 20-year-old revenue sharing model to a fixed wage arrangement, but the cricketers stuck firm. They were particularly keen to keep the revenue-sharing model because of a new TV rights deal on the horizon, which means they could soon earn the same percentage slice (up to 26 percent) of a much larger pie.
Alistair Nicholson summarised the wins for the players as such:
- An agreement for all male and female players for the first time in Australian cricket.
- A revenue sharing model ensuring all players, male and female, are partners in the game of cricket.
- A gender equity pay model with the biggest pay rise in the history of women's sport in Australia.
- The revenue sharing model in which the players will share up to 30% of agreed revenue consisting of 27.5% of forecast revenue streams and a 2.5% performance pool. This is estimated to be up to $500 million in the next five-year period.
- For any over revenue forecast the maintenance of the adjustment ledger will continue, but all female and male domestic and international players will share in this revenue. An amount of approximately 25 million will flow directly to grassroots investment from this fund if forecasts are achieved.
- The ACA will also maintain the cricketer's brand for some commercial activities, but we have signed over the majority of those rights in this agreement.
- Players will have some greater say in scheduling through a standing advisory board, and then there will be an improved retirement fund.
- Finally, all uncontracted players on the signs of the full MOU, which will be continued to be negotiated for the next four to six weeks, will then receive back pay once that's resolved.
Sutherland said the agreement was the result of "a sensible compromise from both parties".
"From Cricket Australia's point of view, we needed to modernise the pay model to provide us with more flexibility to deal with issues facing the game as they come up from time to time," he said.
"We want the focus to be back on the cricket. We have got a huge summer of cricket to look forward to and including of course Ashes cricket for both our men and women. I'm very confident, but by the time the first ball is bowled this summer all of this will be well and truly behind us."
The breakthrough means that the Australian team's two-Test tour of Bangladesh starting on August 18 is certain to go ahead. More importantly, so is The Ashes which starts on November 23.