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Pay dispute could hamper Ashes

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 14-05-2017 skysports.com

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The ongoing contract dispute between Australia's cricket board and players could have a direct effect on the upcoming Ashes series in November. 

Cricket Australia (CA) has threatened unemployment in recent days, insisting the players must agree to a new deal or lose their contracts, while the Players' association has criticised such threats.

Australia's professional cricketers rejected a pay offer from the sport's governing body last month, with CA offering large salary increases, particularly for women, but a break from the 20-year model of a fixed percentage of revenue from the game going to the cricketers.

The players responded by saying the proposal was "a win for cricket administrators but a loss for cricket", and the bitter dispute has now escalated further, with CA CEO James Sutherland warning that players will go unpaid when the existing collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

"In the absence of the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association) negotiating a new MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18," Sutherland said in a letter received by the ACA on Friday.

"To be very clear, in the absence of a new MOU, CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired."

The ACA said in response that the "threats... were a window into the nature of CA's behaviour in these negotiations so far."

"There is incoherence and aggression in what we have experienced at the negotiating table from CA," ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said in a statement on Sunday.

"This has further been demonstrated this week with some top players being offered multi-year deals one day, only to now be threatened the next."

Current Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc and former Test all-rounder Shane Watson have both hinted on Twitter at a players' strike for the upcoming five-Test Ashes series, due to start in Brisbane on November 26.

Another issue revolves around the upcoming women's World Cup, with the competition kicking off on June 24 in England and Wales, meaning the current MoU will expire midway through the tournament.

"The Australian women's World Cup squad will be paid in advance of the June/July World Cup and will be employed until the end of the event," Sutherland added.

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