Australia pay row: Deal agreed ‘in principle’ to resolve pay dispute

A deal has been agreed “in principle” by Australia’s players to resolve a long-running pay dispute that could have threatened this winter’s Ashes series against England.

Cricket Australia says a deal was struck with the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) on Thursday.

The Test tour of Bangladesh starting this month is now expected to go ahead.

Australia A’s tour of South Africa was cancelled in July amid the row over the scrapping of a revenue-sharing model.

Australia’s leading 230 players have effectively been unemployed since the previous five-year agreement expired on 30 June.

“We’ve reached a good compromise, one we can both live with and one that will be good for the game and good for Australia’s cricketers,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told a news conference at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“In announcing this agreement we are restoring certainty, beginning to repair relationships, especially with the fans. We want the focus to be back on the cricket.”

Australia start a two-Test series in Bangladesh on 27 August, while the Ashes get under way on 23 November.

Why did this happen?

Cricket Australia produces a memorandum of understanding with the players – represented by the ACA – every five years. The last agreement expired on 30 June.

In March, the governing body proposed salary increases for men and women, which removed a clause from players’ contracts guaranteeing them a percentage of the organisation’s revenue.

This was rejected by the ACA, which also turned down a further revised pay offer.

Australia captain Steve Smith said the players would not “give up” the revenue-sharing agreement, while vice-captain David Warner blamed the board for the dispute.

“The players are unemployed and some are hurting financially but continue to train,” Warner said on Instagram.

The opening batsman said in May that Australia “might not have a team for the Ashes” if the dispute was not resolved.

After months of public disagreements, a deadline for the ACA to agree new pay and conditions passed without resolution.

Sutherland said that if a resolution could not be found, the governing body would propose arbitration.

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