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    CA Chairman defends Sutherland's role in pay dispute


    CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) stonewalled over a new pay deal for 10 months with the governing body's plans to rework the existing revenue-sharing model a major source of contention. After an agreement failed to be struck by the June 30 deadline, Australia A's tour of South Africa was cancelled as players remained united.

    Eventually, an agreement was struck with the revenue-sharing model remaining, in seemingly a win for the players, although there are fears that tensions from the long saga could persist. On Tuesday (October 24) at its AGM in Brisbane, David Peever, CA chairman, said the governing body was content with the outcome.

    "We didn't want to put players in the middle of the dispute and we hold our heads high that we didn't ever do that," he said. "Yes it was acrimonious, this is significant change that comes about every five years so it is not surprising that there would be tension around it. Apart from the (Australia A) South Africa tour, no cricket was lost and no player has gone without payment.

    "While a lot has been made of the opposing views, at the end of the day compromise is necessary to get to an outcome and that is what happened," he added.

    During the dispute, there was some criticism over the limited role of James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, in the saga with negotiations being handled by Kevin Roberts. Sutherland eventually stepped in and discussions quickly accelerated.

    Peever defended Sutherland's role in the discussions. "You have to bear in mind James runs a very large organisation; a large, complex organisation, and he's time-poor," he said. "It was important that at some stage we felt James needed to move into the process directly, but not at the beginning. We had an extremely competent person in Kevin Roberts leading from our side."

    At the AGM, CA announced a (AUD) $68 million surplus over the past four years but it posted a $50 million loss for the 2016-17 season. CA in a statement said that "results were in line with management and budgetary expectations and the four-year, long range plan".

    CA was confident there was a strong financial base due to the "unprecedented" interest in broadcast rights with expectations that the Big Bash League's rights would treble under a new deal. In a boost, CA recently announced a six-year deal with Indian broadcaster Sony.

    "We believe there is significant interest in cricket's rights," Sutherland said. "Ultimately, the market will decide the value of our rights but we do know the media landscape is changing all the time.

    "We have great content, we have high levels of fan passion and fan interest in our sport and we are very confident we are in a good position to get a great result for Australian cricket," he added.

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