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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cricket Australia ponders how to share the wealth

Australia's contracted players are not guaranteed of significant pay rises despite Cricket Australia's expectation it will have a turnover of more than $1 billion in the next four years. The players begin pay negotiations with Cricket Australia next week but the new chairman, Jack Clarke, said it was vital money was distributed with the future in mind.

"We have 568,000 players in Australia, and we plan to boost that to 750,000 by 2013," Clarke told the Sunday Herald Sun. "CA is responsible for paying the elite, but equally it has so many other areas to consider when slicing the pie.

"People always think they are worth more than they are getting. And they are entitled to seek what they are now asking. But you can only pay players what you can afford. It is not just about them.

"We have a secondary competition, the Sheffield Shield, that incurs massive losses, but that is vital to the structure of our national game. Then there is maintenance and ground rental, local cricket competitions that survive mainly because of volunteers. If everyone put out their hands, there would be nothing left."

The Australian Cricketers' Association is likely to push for a greater slice of the overall revenue than their current 25% share when the pay negotiations begin. The players have also raised concerns over their heavy schedule of public and sponsor appearances - they are required to do up to 22 a year - alongside the increasingly hectic international cricket calendar.

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