SYDNEY: Cricket Australia chairman David Peever Thursday went on the attack over suggestions he is running an “extreme” industrial relations agenda, slamming the players’ union for “reckless” tactics in a damaging pay dispute.
Peever claimed the Australian Cricketers’ Association was threatening to drive away commercial sponsors, damage the prospects of broadcast partners and lock up player intellectual property rights into its own business ventures.
Writing an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, he said that CA’s board had been insulted and disrespected in the ugly spat between the governing body and players.
“CA has put what in any normal circumstances would be regarded as a very generous offer,” Peever said.
“The ACA has responded by not only rejecting that proposal (and recent concessions) out of hand, but by launching a campaign of such sustained ferocity that anyone could be forgiven for thinking CA was proposing the reintroduction of slavery rather than healthy pay rises.
“Not content with that level of overreaction, the ACA has gone much further.
“Refusing to allow players to tour, threatening to drive away commercial sponsors and damage the prospects of broadcast partners, lock up player IP (intellectual property) into its own business ventures and even stage its own games.
“It’s a reckless strategy that can only damage the game and therefore the interests of the ACA’s own members.”
Peever is among CA officials pushing to scrap the revenue-sharing model that has shaped the salaries of players since their first Memorandum of Understanding was brokered 20 years ago.
– ‘Tawdry suggestion’ –
Most Australian players became unemployed on June 30, when the sides failed to reach new agreement.
The players have resolved not to tour or cooperate with CA while they are out of contract, a situation that led to the cancellation of this month’s Australia A tour of South Africa and puts in danger coming series against Bangladesh and India.
There are growing concerns the festering dispute may affect the showpiece Ashes series against England in Australia later this year.
Peever, a former managing director of mining giant Rio Tinto and CA chairman since 2015, also took aim at reports that his organisation was guilty of union busting.
“Of all the claims swirling around … perhaps the most tawdry is the suggestion that CA has been motivated by some extreme industrial relations agenda, supposedly imported from the mining industry,” he said.
“It’s a complete myth, and deeply insulting to many people across the cricket spectrum. It has been deliberately fabricated.
“I respect the role of the ACA — and unions in general — to negotiate on behalf of their members,” he added.
“The suggestion that CA’s push to modify the player payments model has nothing to do with genuine issues facing the game is an insult to everyone involved at CA, including other members of the board.”
The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Thursday that CA chief executive James Sutherland and his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson have spent hours in talks this week to try to break the impasse amid mounting commercial pressures.