Australia ‘might not have’ Ashes team – Warner

David Warner

Australia’s Ashes series against England in November could be in doubt because of a players’ contract dispute, says vice-captain David Warner.

In March, Cricket Australia proposed salary increases for men and women, but this would mean players no longer receive a percentage of CA’s revenue.

The offer was rejected and CA said it would not pay players after 30 June.

Warner told the Age newspaper: “If it gets to the extreme, they might not have a team for the Ashes.”

A stand-off has developed between CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), which represents the players.

Ex-Australia captain Mark Taylor said the players were “prepared to strike” over the proposals.

If the dispute is not resolved, there would be uncertainty over what team Australia could field after 30 June, with a two-Test series scheduled in August in Bangladesh before a home Ashes showdown which runs from 23 November 2017 to 8 January 2018.

That 30 June deadline also falls in the middle of the Women’s World Cup, which takes place in England between 24 June and 23 July – and Australia’s elite female players have shown solidarity with their male counterparts over the dispute despite CA’s March offer to double the elite women’s pay.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson told BBC Sport: “CA is ready and willing to negotiate with the ACA.”

In a letter sent by CA to the ACA, chief executive James Sutherland said “players with contracts expiring in 2016-17 will not have contracts for 2017-18” unless the ACA negotiates a new Memorandum of Understanding.

“We want a fair share, and the revenue-sharing model is what we want, so we are going to stick together until we get that,” added Warner, currently playing in the Indian Premier League. “We are not going to shy away; we are just going to stick together.

“We want to keep participating for our country as much as we can, but if we don’t have a job, we have to go and find some cricket elsewhere.”

‘International boards need to put their hands in their pockets’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes the dispute could be the first of many to affect the international game.

“It’s great for England to see Australia falling out and fighting with each other but in terms of the game as a whole it’s not a great story,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Tuffers and Vaughan Show.

“I’ve never seen it to this level. It’s sad for the game when you’re hearing this but I don’t think it will be the last case of players getting together as groups. There’s so much money coming through TV deals, I think players will say ‘we fancy a piece of that’.

“International boards have got to put their hands in their pockets to save international cricket. In our day, international cricket was the sole money-maker for the game but the Twenty20 leagues are catching up.” – BBC

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