SYDNEY: Vice-captain David Warner has attacked Cricket Australia’s handling of a pay dispute and once again raised the spectre of an Ashes series boycott by players later this year.
The feisty opener has not backed away from claims he made last month of a potential players’ strike during the showpiece home series against England, starting in November.
CA has threatened not to pay contracted players beyond the June 30 expiry of their current financial deal if they do not accept a new offer.
But Warner has gone on the front foot, claiming the governing body had prosecuted its argument primarily through media briefings.
“If we are unemployed, we have no contracts, we can’t play,” he told Fairfax Media Monday in England at the Champions Trophy.
“We are pretty sure that they will come to an agreement. But, as you know, we are going to be unemployed come July 1. So we have to wait and see.”
Warner said beyond “a couple of emails” CA management had not engaged with its contracted players.
“It is only what we hear in the media and that’s how CA have been driving it the whole way,” he said.
“They have been using the media as a voice and we get the message from there.”
Warner again pledged his “full support” to fellow players and affirmed he is “100 percent” behind the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).
“They are doing a great job for us,” he said of the players’ union’s efforts in the dispute.
“From a players’ point of view, we are pretty vocal and upbeat.”
Warner added that he remains hopeful a new Memorandum of Understanding can be struck between now and June 30.
“It is a big thing that we could be unemployed, but from us, our job is to play cricket, focus on winning the (Champions Trophy) tournament and not let our country down,” he said.
CA is determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years, saying more funds were needed for the game’s grassroots, and that the offer it has on the table provided handsomely for players.
But the ACA is equally resolved to keep revenue-sharing, saying the system does not need fixing.
With no end in sight to the impasse, the ACA has disclosed plans to form a new business to help male and female players directly negotiate sponsorship deals.
Establishing “The Cricketers’ Brand”, designed to manage and commercialise player’s intellectual property (IP) rights, was necessary due to “the uncertainty of all parties regarding IP matters should the players be unemployed post June 30,” it recently said.