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Cricket Australia heralds 'sensible compromise' as players preserve revenue sharing

Relations between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association have rapidly thawed as a new deal for players finally nears.

James Sutherland Alistair Nicholson - cropped
CA chief executive James Sutherland and ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson speak to the media in Melbourne

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland says "a sensible compromise from both parties" enabled a long-awaited breakthrough in negotiations with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), as a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) now appears imminent. 

Relations between the two organisations had been strained to breaking point as talks stalled on a new collective bargaining agreement, the previous deal having expired in June, effectively leaving Australia's elite cricketers unemployed and placing the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh and the Ashes series at home to England in doubt. 

However, Sutherland and his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson addressed a media conference in Melbourne on Thursday to confirm they had settled on a Heads of Agreement, the precursor to a full MoU, which is set to last until 2022, being decided on. 

According to a CA statement, the latest agreement includes a modernised revenue sharing formula, increased funding for the player development program, increased female player payments and additional grassroots funding.

CA had sought to remove a clause safeguarding the long-standing practice of revenue sharing from the players' contracts.

However, the ACA has won the right to keep that arrangement in place, meaning the players will share AU$500million among them, which is 30 per cent of the forecast revenue of AU$1.668billion for the five-year period of the new agreement.

"It will restore much-needed security to the game of cricket," Sutherland said of the proposed terms.

"It's a sensible compromise from both parties.

"Change is never easy but sometimes it is necessary. This process hasn't been easy and history will judge whether it was all worth it in the end.

"For all of us, perhaps the dawning reality of an international tour coming up, and the importance of that, we all needed to somehow focus our energies into getting a deal done.

"Spirit has been willing and there's been really strong intent from both parties to find a way through."

Asked directly if the next Ashes series, due to start in Brisbane in late November, had ever been in doubt, Sutherland said: "You can't predict the future but as I've said a number of times before, both parties have a lot more in common than we don't and we all care deeply about the game of cricket."

The ACA, which has recommended its members accept the new terms, claimed it consists of "one agreement for all male and female players", includes "a gender-equity pay model" and constitutes the "biggest pay rise in the history of women's sport in Australia".

Nicholson said: "The resolve is very strong in the playing group. While players are now keen to get into camp and play for Australia, the partnership and revenue share model was important to them so resolve was very strong."

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