Cricket Australia defends controversial pregnancy clause

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Melbourne [Australia], Dec. 16 (ANI): After facing criticism for its controversial clause wherein female players are asked to sign a contract saying they are not pregnant, Cricket Australia (CA) has defended the decision, saying it's a duty of care issue. On Thursday, the Australian newspaper published details of a leaked pay submission from the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) that revealed differences in treatment and pay of male and female players. Defending its controversial stance on pregnant female players, CA, in a statement, said, "The safety of any player, whether they be Cricket Australia, Women's Big Bash League or state and territory contracted, is always our number one priority." "We are committed to providing a safe environment for all cricket players (including pregnant players) and all other cricket participants," quoted CA as saying. The cricket board also said they are well aware of and abide by the rules which make it unlawful to discriminate against a player on the basis of pregnancy or potential pregnancy. "Any player who becomes pregnant is encouraged to make her own decision on whether or not to continue playing cricket in consultation with her medical advisers," the statement added. This 'clarification' comes after the Advocacy group Women Sport Australia said CA's position potentially revealed a reluctance to pay out maternity leave. "As they are only offering women one-year contracts, not multi-year contracts as the men get, it looks like they are trying to avoid having to honour maternity leave provisions for female players," group's president Carol Fox said. However, CA's executive general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said they put health and safety of their players at the highest priority. "Our only interest in whether one of our women players is pregnant is to ensure the health of her and her baby, and we have strict rules around medical confidentiality," Howard said. "We are very mindful that cricket involves physical risk, and we need to ensure that our medical staff and players are aware of every aspect that can affect a player's health." "All our policies have been developed in conjunction with the Australian Cricketers' Association, and together we will continue to refine and improve all policies and contractual clauses that relate to player health and safety," he added. Cricket Australia and the players' association are locked in ongoing pay negotiations, with female players included in the collective bargaining talks for the first time. (ANI)