The long-drawn pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australia Cricketers’ Association finally ended on Thursday with the two parties agreeing terms to a new deal.
Nearly 250 cricketers who were out of a contract after the previous Memorandum of Understanding expired on June 30 will be re-employed, according to the new deal.
This also means that Australia’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh, which was under serious threat, will proceed as scheduled. Australia are scheduled to depart for Bangladesh, where the two teams will play two Tests, on August 18. The new “in-principle” deal also ensures that the tours of India and England can go ahead.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland is expected to announce details of the new five-year Memorandum of Understanding later in the day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at a press conference.
Sutherland, last Thursday, stated that the board would consider recruiting an independent arbitration to take over proceedings barring a failure to pass a resolution this week.
“Today’s agreement is the result of sensible compromises by both parties,” Sutherland said, adding that the “core issues” had been worked out. He added that it would “restore much certainty to the game of cricket”.
“It will allow all players – state and international players – to be contracted immediately and it will also allow the all-important tour of Bangladesh to proceed as planned.”
At the heart of the dispute has been the divisive issue of revenue-sharing, a model that was largely retained under the new deal.
The bad-tempered stand-off has been rumbling for months, rattling the game and badly straining the players’ relationship with the governing body.
It left 230 cricketers unemployed since the end of June when their contracts expired, putting the Test tour to Bangladesh this month under serious threat.
But, Steve Smith will now lead his team to Dhaka with a one-day tour to India in September and October and the showpiece home Ashes series against England, beginning in November, also now safe.
An Australian A tour to South Africa last month was called off after players announced a boycott. “Relationships with the game have been tested and I know that has been a bit of a turn-off for fans,” added Sutherland.
“Both parties acknowledge and regret that. We are restoring certainty and beginning to repair relationships, especially with the fans. We want the focus to be back on the cricket.”
(With inputs from AFP)