Cricket Australia has presented a ground-breaking remuneration and benefits proposal to the nation’s professional cricketers. It will mean that cricket is able to offer women the opportunity to have a fully professional sporting career at both international and domestic levels, while the men will continue to be among the country’s best paid sportsmen.
It will also provide much needed flexibility to address current underinvestment in the grassroots of the game, a high priority for cricket over the next five years.
Cricket Australia’s CEO, James Sutherland, said the offer was for a new five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and contained a number of landmark features.
“We are pleased that the Australian Cricketers Association agrees with us that women, for the first time, should be part of the MOU, and we have proposed a financial model that has gender equity at its heart,” said Mr Sutherland.
“Under the proposal, women will receive an immediate average pay increase of more than 125%. As a result, our international women cricketers will see their average pay increase from $79,000 to $179,000, as of July 1 this year. By 2021, we expect to see our international women cricketers earning an average of $210,000.
“And our state female cricketers, playing both WNCL and WBBL, will see their average remuneration more than double from $22,000 to $52,000 this year.
“Under this offer, we will achieve gender equity by ensuring that the minimum and average hourly pay will be the same for state men and women in 2017/18. In addition, match fees for the WNCL and the Matador Cup will be exactly the same: a one-day game for a state cricketer is worth the same to both men and women.
“We are also introducing, for the first time, prizemoney for the WNCL of $258,000 and the WBBL of $309,000 this coming summer.
“Cricket has led the charge on providing a real sporting career path for women, and this offer locks in all that hard work of the past few years. It is truly an historic development which allows us to say with confidence that cricket is a sport for all Australians.”
In addition to this landmark for women, CA is proposing increased pay for all players. Total potential remuneration for all players, including guaranteed and performance elements, will increase from $311m over the course of the current MOU period (2012-17) to $419m over the next MOU (2017-22), an increase of 35%. In addition, the value of other benefits available to players will increase, with a particular focus on career planning, and for the first time all players will have access to appearance payments to develop the game.
Mr Sutherland pointed out that those men who represented Australia on the international stage would see their average yearly retainer increase to $816,000 by 2021/22. With match fees and performance bonuses, the expected average income for these players (including BBL payments) will be $1.45m by 2021/22, an increase of 25% on 2016/17 ($1.16m).
Domestic male cricketers (state competitions and BBL) will also be earning an average of $235,000 by 2021/22, up 18% from $199,000 in 2016/17.
“We have placed the emphasis on increasing the guaranteed amount that the men will receive, rather than rely on any projected increase in revenue,” Mr Sutherland said.
“We understand that the ACA prefers the status quo, but CA believes that the model devised in the 1990s, which is based on a fixed percentage of revenue, has served its intended purpose – to make Australia’s cricketers some of the best paid sportspeople in the country.
“It was a means to an end, not something that has to hold us back from providing players with financial certainty, a fair deal for all players including women, and the flexibility to invest in the grassroots of the game.
“This is a landmark agreement. We are now looking forward to sitting down with the ACA to work through the details and we are confident we will be able to announce a completed agreement before June 30.
“We can then look forward to an Ashes summer, when both our women and men will be taking on England,” concluded Mr Sutherland.