Sydney - Cricket Australia chairperson David Peever on Thursday
went on the attack over suggestions he is running an "extreme"
industrial relations agenda, slamming the players' union for
"reckless" tactics in a damaging pay dispute.
Peever claimed the Australian Cricketers' Association was
threatening to drive away commercial sponsors, damage the prospects of
broadcast partners and lock up player intellectual property rights into its own
Writing an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, he
said that CA's board had been insulted and disrespected in the ugly spat
between the governing body and players.
"CA has put what in any normal circumstances would be
regarded as a very generous offer," Peever said.
"The ACA has responded by not only rejecting that
proposal (and recent concessions) out of hand, but by launching a campaign of
such sustained ferocity that anyone could be forgiven for thinking CA was
proposing the reintroduction of slavery rather than healthy pay rises.
"Not content with that level of overreaction, the ACA
has gone much further.
"Refusing to allow players to tour, threatening to
drive away commercial sponsors and damage the prospects of broadcast partners,
lock up player IP (intellectual property) into its own business ventures and
even stage its own games.
"It's a reckless strategy that can only damage the game
and therefore the interests of the ACA's own members."
Peever is among CA officials pushing to scrap the
revenue-sharing model that has shaped the salaries of players since their first
Memorandum of Understanding was brokered 20 years ago.
Most Australian players became unemployed on June 30, when
the sides failed to reach new agreement.
The players have resolved not to tour or cooperate with CA
while they are out of contract, a situation that led to the cancellation of this
month's Australia A tour of South Africa and puts in danger coming series
against Bangladesh and India.
There are growing concerns the festering dispute may affect
the showpiece Ashes series against England in Australia later this year.
Peever, a former managing director of mining giant Rio Tinto
and CA chairman since 2015, also took aim at reports that his organisation was
guilty of union busting.
"Of all the claims swirling around ... perhaps the most
tawdry is the suggestion that CA has been motivated by some extreme industrial
relations agenda, supposedly imported from the mining industry," he said.
"It's a complete myth, and deeply insulting to many
people across the cricket spectrum. It has been deliberately fabricated.
"I respect the role of the ACA - and unions in general
- to negotiate on behalf of their members," he added.
"The suggestion that CA's push to modify the player
payments model has nothing to do with genuine issues facing the game is an
insult to everyone involved at CA, including other members of the board."
The Sydney Daily Telegraph reported Thursday that CA chief
executive James Sutherland and his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson have
spent hours in talks this week to try to break the impasse amid mounting