(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Unattached Australian players are seeking income routes which threaten to create conflict between the Australian Cricketers’ Association and their major sponsors.
MItchell Starc has already sought financial security by signing a deal with Audi, a business rival of major Cricket Australia sponsor Toyota. The Australian has also reported that another key member of the Australian team is close to sealing an agreement with McDonalds – competition for the Big Bash League title sponsors KFC.
The stand-off between players and the national body is based on the revenue-share model currently used to distribute income to cricketers in Australia; from an Ashes playing Test side to the grassroots.
A reform to the pay model proposed on 30 June failed to be approved by the Union, meaning over 200 Australian cricketers were left in limbo. With CA now warning it is preparing for an attritional route to resolving the issues by planning for the next 12 months, sparking fears over the upcoming Ashes series this winter.
Test captain Steve Smith spoke out over the weekend about the need to find a solution which brings players back from the cliffedge.
“I’ll say what we as players have been saying for some time now: we are not giving up the revenue sharing model for all players,” Smith wrote in a post on Instagram.
“But, through the ACA we are willing to make important changes to modernise the existing model for the good of the game.
“We are and have always been willing to make those changes.
“Changes for how the model can be adapted for the even greater benefit of grass roots cricket, which is after all where we all started.
“We are determined to keep revenue sharing for all because we must take care of domestic players in Australia,” Smith rallied.
‘Modifications’ as Smith described the reforms are being pushed to distribute money to areas in the game most in need of it right now – women’s cricket and the domestic game which provides platforms for semi-professionals with potential and capped internationals who are out of form.
AUS$58.4million is due to be paid out in October as usual but with things at a standstill, CA have warned that players who seek endorsements which conflict their agreements with sponsors will face more uncertainty.
In order for matters to progress CA firstly needs to attain new commercial deals following the dropout of Carlton and United Breweries and the scaled down investment Commonwealth Bank are now offering compared with previous agreements.
Likewise, domestic and overseas TV rights are up for renewal next year.