Cricket Australia calls off player pay talks

| Updated: Dec 19, 2016 18:24 IST

Melbourne [Australia], Dec.19 (ANI): Cricket Australia (CA) has postponed pay talks with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), saying the on-going negotiations can distract the players at this busy time of the season. "In the period that will see tens of thousands of fans enjoy BBL matches, and the cricket community prepare for another Boxing Day Test, that cannot be assured if discussions continue under current arrangements with the ACA," quoted a CA spokesperson as saying. "Players deserve the opportunity to focus on the game, rather than being distracted by a negotiation that should be conducted in a professional and confidential manner," he added. The governing body and the ACA are negotiating a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and informal meetings between the two are due to take place this week. However, the CA has now postponed the discussions until the new year after the players' union raised concerns about issues relating to female players, including a controversial pregnancy clause. The cricket board also accused the ACA of failing to negotiate in good faith. "Cricket Australia is committed to a negotiation that is conducted in good faith between the two parties, but will not take part in a process which seeks to draw its players into a public dispute," the CSA said. Last week, the ACA submission sent to players highlighted several "outdated at best and rather condescending" issues relating to female cricketers, including a controversial clause wherein female players are asked to sign a contract saying they are not pregnant. Firing back at the critics, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland had said the issue had been misrepresented and put players in a difficult position. He further insisted that the current negotiation was a chance to develop a policy "that keeps the health and safety of women, and their babies, first and foremost." Meanwhile, Cricket Australia had confirmed on Saturday that the independent organisation, charged with educating and encouraging compliance with Australia's workplace laws, was seeking further clarification over its contracts. (ANI)