Staff, players demand answers from Cricket Australia over cash strife less than two years after signing $1.2 billion broadcast deal

Rob ForsaithThe West Australian
CEO Kevin Roberts (L) shakes hands with outgoing CEO James Sutherland (R) as dumped chairman David Peever looks on.
Camera IconCEO Kevin Roberts (L) shakes hands with outgoing CEO James Sutherland (R) as dumped chairman David Peever looks on. Credit: METHODE/METHODE, AFP

Josh Hazlewood is keen for Cricket Australia (CA) to show “a lot of transparency on all the numbers” but the star paceman believes his teammates and employers will attack the sport’s financial woes collaboratively.

Hazlewood, like many players and CA staff, admitted he was surprised the governing body stood down the vast majority of its workers on 20 per cent pay for the rest of the financial year.

Players and staff are keen for answers from CA chief executive Kevin Roberts as to how the organisation is in such poor financial shape after signing a landmark broadcast deal worth $1.2 billion in 2018.

Roberts and Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) counterpart Alistair Nicholson are in talks, having improved their relationship markedly since butting heads during an acrimonious pay spat in 2017.

There are fears that relationship could break down again, with the expectation being that CA will push for further cuts as the April 30 deadline for 2020-21 national contracts to be lodged looms large.

MCG curator Matt Page speaks to Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer, assistant coach Andrew McDonald and team manager Gavin Dovey.
Camera IconMCG curator Matt Page speaks to Australian men's cricket coach Justin Langer, assistant coach Andrew McDonald and team manager Gavin Dovey. Credit: SCOTT BARBOUR/AAPIMAGE

Hazlewood reaffirmed players, who fought hard to retain a revenue-sharing model three years ago, are ready for their income to drop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve ridden the highs. Now is the time to ride the lows a little bit,” he told reporters.

“The relationship between the ACA and CA is a lot better now. It’s developed a long way in the last 18 months or two years.

“So that will go a long way towards having this episode (play out) a lot better than last time.

“Hopefully it’s a lot better communication and I think we’ll see that in the coming weeks and months.

“As long as they show a lot of transparency on all the numbers, all the players will be pretty happy with that.”

The health crisis has hardly affected the 2019-20 season but has cast doubt on this year’s Twenty20 World Cup and a lucrative Test series against India, believed to be worth $300 million in broadcast revenue.

Kevin Roberts, CA's Chief Executive Officer poses during the Cricket Australia CEO announcement.
Camera IconKevin Roberts, CA's Chief Executive Officer poses during the Cricket Australia CEO announcement. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Roberts is attempting to secure a $200m line of bank credit, having spoken directly with some senior players during the past week to detail that CA’s projected revenue this summer is set to be cut in half.

“I haven’t spoken to him (Roberts) yet.

“But I don’t really mind ... it’s probably more the ACA-CA relationship,” Hazlewood said.

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