Mark Taylor speaks with Mitchell Starc  during the 2017 Allan Border Medal
Mark Taylor speaks with Mitchell Starc during the 2017 Allan Border Medal Jason McCawley

Taylor says players hinted at strike in January

CRICKET: Former Test captain and current Cricket Australia board member Mark Taylor has claimed that players had been considering a strike since January.

Tensions escalated over the weekend after CA CEO James Sutherland emailed Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Alastair Nicholson notifying him that players would not be paid beyond June 30 if they did not agree to the current offer.

The threat backfired, with players taking to Twitter with the hashtag #fairshare to show their support for ACA, Mitchell Starc hinting that an Ashes boycott could be on the cards.

"The board and CA in general have been frustrated by the fact there has been no negotiation. I had players say to me in January of this year 'we could well be on strike by July'. This is before this MOU (memorandum of understanding) was presented," Taylor told Channel Nine.

"I'm not surprised James has done what he's done. Things haven't been going anywhere for months now, and I know Cricket Australia feel the ACA aren't negotiating at all."

The major sticking point between ACA and CA is the latter's desire to remove the revenue sharing model that has been in place for the past 20 years. However, Taylor maintains the model is no longer financially viable for CA.

"CA want to change the MOU, want to get away from the revenue sharing model, although the deal being offered to the players is still revenue sharing to a certain extent. No-one's worse off, women are going to be very well paid in the new model.

"But right from the word go, the ACA - I'm not so sure about the players - have not wanted to engage at all on this deal that's been offered. It's all about status quo or the highway, and I don't think you can negotiate that way."

"This could be a win-win. Both side have to negotiate, Cricket Australia has said right from the word go there is our deal. There has been no discussion, or any negotiation on the detail of that deal.

"The deal they (players) want is status quo. It doesn't make business sense for Cricket Australia," he said.

"Every time you make money you have to give away a certain percentage of it. The costs of revenue are going up in sport all the time, every sport will say that."

 

Chief Executive of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland
Chief Executive of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland JANE DEMPSTER

On Sunday, Nicholson hit back at CA for threatening the country's players but reaffirmed that ACA is ready to enter mediation.

"Clearly, we are disappointed that CA are threatening the players," Nicholson said in a statement.

"It's also a window into the nature of CA's behaviour in these negotiations so far."

"There is incoherence and aggression in what we have experienced at the negotiating table from CA.

"This has further been demonstrated this week with some top players being offered multi-years deals one day only to now be threatened the next.

"However, despite these threats, the players affirm their offer to participate in independent mediation."

Sutherland's email casts doubt on what team Australia could field after June 30, with a two-Test series scheduled in August in Bangladesh, before this summer's home Ashes.

Sutherland has not been involved in the pay talks but has written: "CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired.

"In the absence of the ACA negotiating a new MOU (memorandum of understanding), players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18 ... that players with existing multi-year state or Big Bash contracts would be required to play in 2017-18 even if a new pay deal is not struck; and that if a new MOU was not agreed ..."

The ACA on Friday had moved to enter mediation with CA over the matter.

News Corp Australia

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