A potential pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and players was averted Saturday after the governing body withdrew a contentious projection of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to "reset" negotiations follows the resignation last month of CA chief executive Kevin Roberts, with his interim replacement Nick Hockley vowing to repair relations between the two sides.
The body in June forecast revenues would fall by nearly 50 percent in the 2020-21 financial year despite the pandemic hitting in the off-season and India's lucrative Test tour this year still set to go ahead. Australian players, both men and women, operate under a revenue-sharing arrangement and faced a significant knock-on effect in the amount of money distributed to their payment pool, which is a fixed percentage.
The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), which represents players, rejected the forecasts as hasty and issued the governing body with a notice of dispute, which could have led to a court standoff. But CA on Saturday agreed to postpone its projections until it had a clearer idea of the financial impact of the pandemic. In turn, the ACA withdraw its notice of dispute.
"Today's agreement is a significant step forward in cricket's response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and should provide our stakeholders with renewed clarity and confidence about the summer ahead," CA said in a statement.
"Calculating revenue projections 12 months ahead during a once-in-a-century pandemic has not been without its challenges, but we believe we have arrived at a position that provides all parties with greater certainty about how to navigate the next year."
ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said the "'reset' is both welcome and sensible".
The move is seen as a common-sense approach from both sides, given the picture for the cricketing summer ahead remains unclear. So far, only two tours involving Australia have been impacted by coronavirus -- a two-Test tour of Bangladesh and a limited overs visit from Zimbabwe that have both been cancelled. There is also doubt over whether Australia will be able to host the Twenty20 World Cup in October and November, but its four-Test series against India scheduled to start in December is still expected to go ahead.
Officials also remain hopeful of having crowds for the popular T20 Big Bash League.