Cricket in Australia recently came to a halt for more than a month because of a pay dispute between the governing body, Cricket Australia, and the Australian Cricket Association (ACA), the players’ union. The dispute saw the South African tour cancelled with players refusing to play.
The dispute arose when Cricket Australia proposed replacing the existing revenue model whereby players were guaranteed 25% of the games revenue. Despite projections of revenue increases, the governing body argued that the model, which has been in place for 20 years, was no longer viable.
In reality Cricket Australia was looking to increase profits at the players’ expense. The governing body is headed by a former Rio Tinto CEO who is known for his anti-union views. He attempted to drive a wedge between the professional players and the grass roots cricket community, suggesting that any increase would be at the expense of struggling local clubs.
In an attack on Cricket Australia, former Australian cricketer Simon Katich questioned the “bureaucracy, executive salaries, entitlements and bonuses” of the Cricket Australia bosses, suggesting that there should instead be a cap on these administrative costs.
With the players refusing to budge, Cricket Australia was unable to stage matches. This was a major blow to the governing body and in the end meant that they were forced to cave in to the players’ demands. An extra $120m will now be redistributed to the players. Women’s pay will increase from about $7.5m to $55.2m, while grassroots cricket will get an extra $30m.
It is the players and fans who make the game possible and therefore they should reap the benefits. This would be much easier if the game was not under corporate control and instead run by the players and fans in a democratic way. Sport and other forms of entertainment should not have to be beholden to profit.
By Mark Poore