Aussie cricketers threaten boycott if new deal not signed

BY AP • July 2, 2017

SYDNEY (AP) Australian cricketers will boycott an Australia A tour of South Africa unless Cricket Australia takes action within days to resolve a bitter pay dispute, the players' union said Sunday.

Players held an emergency meeting in Sydney on Sunday where they threatened to boycott the Australia A tour, scheduled to start on July 12. The cricketers say unless a new Memorandum of Understanding is signed by Friday, they won't be touring South Africa.

The memorandum between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association expired last Friday, leaving about 230 cricketers from test to state levels without a contract. The two parties remain deadlocked over the issue of revenue sharing and negotiations have stalled for months.

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said a ''significant breakthrough'' is needed for the tour to proceed.

''They don't intend to tour, but the reality is they don't fly out of the country until Friday,'' Nicholson said. ''So the players are going to go into camp as planned and hopefully we can make some progress with regards to the MoU. There would need to be a significant breakthrough on the key issue of the revenue-sharing model.''

Test batsman Usman Khawaja, the Australia A captain, said boycotting the tour would be difficult.

''It's not an easy thing to do ... but we are very united,'' Khawaja said. ''We're still going to be training this week. Hopefully something can be resolved, but if it's not, it's a tough decision that sort of has to be made.''

The Australia A squad was scheduled to assemble in Brisbane on Monday to begin pre-tour preparations.

The Ashes series will be at threat if the situation is not resolved before November, a point that vice-captain David Warner has made in several interviews recently. The five-test series against England is scheduled to begin Nov. 23 in Brisbane.

Cricket Australia has paid the women's World Cup squad in advance for the ongoing tournament in England.

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