Australia calls off player pay talks

Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia

Sydney - Cricket Australia has broken off pay talks with its players, saying on-going negotiations could be a distraction to players at a busy time of the season.

Informal meetings between the governing body and the ACA were due to take place this week but Cricket Australia has called a postponement until the new year.

In a statement on Monday a spokesperson said Cricket Australia "will not take part in a process which seeks to draw its players into a public dispute." It appeared to be referring to the ACA's move last week to make public its concerns about a pregnancy clause in contracts offered to female players.

Cricket Australia says the ACA misrepresented the nature of the clause, which requires players to declare they are not pregnant before they sign a contract.

The ACA described the clause as "out-dated at best and rather condescending." Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland condemned the players' association stance on the clause, saying the current negotiation was a chance to develop a policy "that keeps the health and safety of women, and their babies, first and foremost."

In Monday's statement Cricket Australia came close to suggesting the ACA was not negotiating 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 spokesman said.

"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.

 "In the period that will see tens of thousands of fans enjoy (Big Bash League) matches and the cricket community prepare for another Boxing Day Test that cannot be assured if discussions continue under current arrangements with the ACA."

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