SYDNEY: Australia vice-captain David Warner has accused Cricket Australia of wrongly blaming players for not resolving a bitter pay dispute saga which threatens next month’s Test tour to Bangladesh.
CA chief executive James Sutherland upped the ante on Thursday when he said unless intensive talks over the next few days produced a compromise, his organisation would seek the intervention of an industrial umpire to end the impasse.
The Australian Cricketers’ Association hit back, saying CA was to blame for the crisis dragging on and that it had “lost the players” through its hardball tactics.
David Warner, who has been outspoken in the push for players to keep a 20-year revenue-sharing arrangement in place against CA opposition, also fired back at the governing body.
“This Baggy Green (cap) means the world to me,” David Warner wrote on Instagram late Thursday beneath a picture of himself in his Test kit.
“Myself and all the other players, female and male, want to get out there and play.
“We offered Aus$30 million ($24 million) of our money to grassroots as a peace plan. It was ignored. We asked for mediation twice before and it was rejected. Now CA says there is a crisis.
“The players are unemployed and some are hurting financially but continue to train. Administrators all still being paid. How is it our fault no deal is done?”
After months of negotiations, the players and CA have failed to reach agreement, leaving 230 cricketers unemployed since the end of June when their contracts expired.
Sutherland went on the attack after knocking back recent compromise proposals from the ACA, who remain adamant that players must receive a percentage of the game’s gross revenues.
“We feel that what has been proposed actually jeopardises not only the Bangladesh tour but in turn the Indian tour that is upcoming and beyond that even — dare I say it — the Ashes tour,” Sutherland said Thursday.
“We have concerns that the urgency at our end is not being reciprocated at the other side and that’s why we can hopefully bring the matter to resolution and failing that an independent arbitrator to come in, make a decision and we accept the umpire’s decision.”
The ACA likened arbitration to an “adversarial process more akin to a courtroom”.
“This dispute has arisen from Cricket Australia’s attempts to, without making the case, end a successful 20-year partnership with players,” it said.
“Cricket Australia has lost the players and most of the game’s stakeholders in the process.”
The first match on the Test tour of Bangladesh is due to start on August 22, followed by a one-day tour to India in September and October ahead of the showpiece home Ashes series, beginning in November.