Australia A likely to boycott South Africa tour as pay dispute continues

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Australia A likely to boycott South Africa tour as pay dispute continues

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SportsCafe Desk

07/02/2017

Australian Cricketers Association announced on Sunday that the Australia A team will boycott the tour of South Africa this month as the pay dispute with Cricket Australia continues to remain unresolved. The Australian team was scheduled to play two Tests against South Africa commencing on July 12th.

More than 200 Australian players' contracts with Cricket Australia terminated on June 30th after Australian Cricketers' Association declined the revised contracts that were to devoid the cricketers of a fixed share of the organisation's revenue who were instead offered a share of the profit and higher pay deals. 

The ACA called an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the persistent issue and decided the Australia A team would boycott the tour of South Africa unless a new Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) was signed with Cricket Australia.

"They don't intend to tour but the reality is they don't fly out of the country until Friday," Alistair Nicholson, ACA chief executive, told reporters of the Australia A tour.

"So the players are going to go into camp as planned and hopefully we can make some progress with regards to the MOU. There would need to be a significant breakthrough on the key issue of the revenue sharing model."

In response to Nicholson's statement, CA stated that it would never force the players to play for an Australian team.

"Australia A is a development tour which gives players an opportunity to perform at a high level," CA said in a statement.

"It is therefore surprising that players would elect not to tour, however CA has never, and would never attempt to force anyone to play for an Australian team who is unwilling to do so.

"CA remains ready to negotiate a new MOU and has again called on the ACA to show genuine flexibility and commence negotiations in the best interests of the players and the game."

The players union also include the cricketers that are on multi-year contracts with respective state teams and who are ready to continue the boycott until a new Memorandum of Understanding is signed.

"It's not an easy thing to do... but we are very united," Australia A captain Usman Khawaja told reporters.

"We're still going to be training this week. Hopefully something can be resolved, but if it's not, it's a tough decision that sort of has to be made. Not to go is a sacrifice in some respects, but we see the broader picture."

The ACA warned that the upcoming series in Bangladesh and India would suffer the same fate until CA is ready to accept their demands.

"Players expressed a strong desire to tour both Bangladesh and India and urged CA to support them by renewing an MOU on fair terms, allowing the tours to proceed," Nicholson said.

"However, due to the fact of unemployment and the resolution and an absent MOU there are no professional cricketers presently obliged or available to tour."

Australia is scheduled to tour Bangladesh to play a Test series in August followed by an ODI series in India in September. The players also hinted that they may opt to give their playing rights to the ACA who will further sell them to the Australian board.

"The venues are all booked. The schedule is there. It's just a different way to get the players playing cricket," Nicholson said. "An agreed MOU remains the clear preference."

The ACA further added that if a Memorandum of Understanding is not signed "on the right terms" the players are ready to jeopardize the iconic winter Ashes series in November as well.

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