The Australian Cricketers’ Association claims that players receive less than 20 per cent of the revenue generated by the game rather than the quarter agreed under the last memorandum of understanding with Cricket Australia and have demanded an audit of an estimated $400 million “gap” between the governing body’s turnover and what is shared with the athletes.
The players’ union and CA have suspended negotiations over a new MoU until the new year after meetings this week and are divided on a range of fronts, principally CA’s proposal that the existing percentage-of-revenue pay model be scrapped for all but the top 20 men’s international players.
The ACA not only want the revenue model retained for all international and domestic players, male and female, but have called for an improved system that gives the players a piece of other revenue streams, including CA’s growing digital arm.
In its submission compiled ahead of the MoU talks, endorsed by Australian captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner, the ACA accuses CA of a lack of financial transparency, which has “made it extremely difficult for the players and the ACA to plan their finances, lives and business affairs”.
In the document, the union expresses particular concern at what it says is a growing disparity between the CA’s overall revenue pool – called Total Cricket Revenue (TCR) – and the pool that is shared with the players, labelled Australian Cricket Revenue (ACR).
“Contrary to popular belief, male players receive less than 20 per cent of TCR with more than 80 per cent going to Cricket Australia,” the submission says.
“There is an enormous and growing gap between all revenue received by CA (TCR) and the revenue pool that is shared by the players (ACR). The gap is estimated by the ACA to be in excess of $400 million over the five-year period of the MOU.”
“The distinction between TCR and ACR means that male cricketers receive substantially less than the quarter of cricket revenue to which the original MOU referred. That is, male cricketers receive less than 20 per cent of TCR.”
The ACA calls for a joint audit of the estimated $400m gap, saying the pot of money could be used to help fund improved player welfare, continue to professionalise the women’s game and improve the Sheffield Shield and the Women’s National Cricket League.
CA’s view is that the TCR and ACR terms are well defined and the revenue not made available to players is only that which they do not directly contribute to, for instance government grants. The governing body also points to two “adjustment ledger” payments totalling more than $80m that are being made to players this year and next and could be used in areas such as women’s pay.
The ACA document also questions why Australian players do not receive a cut of digital revenue or a piece of the weighty payment CA received from the cancellation of the Twenty20 Champions League concept last year.
“The male and female players to date have (for reasons unknown) received zero per cent of digital revenue which the game has generated largely from use of their own attributes and efforts. This alone is a matter of concern given the growth projected in this type of revenue,” the submission says.
The ACA submission also says the new MoU will be the first “where an elite Australian player could earn more playing ‘club’ or ‘franchise’ cricket (IPL, CPL, BBL, WBBL) than playing for their country”.
Elsewhere, the union takes aim at CA’s scheduling, claiming it “reduce[s] the chances of winning games of cricket” and calling for more a more formal mode of collaboration with players on fixtures.
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