Australian cricket pay dispute escalates
15 July 2017
An ongoing pay dispute between Australia’s professional cricketers and the sport’s administrators has escalated, with bitter recriminations traded between senior players and cricketing authorities.
Last week, Australia A, the second-line national team, boycotted a scheduled tour of South Africa, in a move labelled the first players’ strike in modern Australian cricket history. A deadline for new player contracts ended on June 30, leaving over 200 of the sport’s top professionals effectively unemployed.
The standoff has prompted nervous speculation that it could jeopardise the Australian cricket summer, including a tour in October by the Indian national team and the Ashes, a lucrative and prestigious test series between Australia and England.
In a sign that substantial financial interests are at stake, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this week called for a compromise deal, while commentators warned that sponsorships worth tens of millions of dollars are up in the air.
The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), the players’ representative body, this week established a business to market and manage “intellectual property,” threatening the control of Cricket Australia (CA), the sport’s governing authority, over sponsorships and advertisements.
Leading players, including well-known fast bowler Mitchell Starc, have already defied warnings from CA against signing individual sponsorship contracts.
Much of the media commentary has asserted that the players are “overpaid” and their intransigence is a result of “greed.” It is true that the top players are handsomely remunerated, with the 20 most prominent cricketers receiving average annual salaries of over a million dollars.