© Getty Images
Australian women can now pursue cricket as a fully professional career both at domestic and international levels © Getty Images

Sydney: Cricket Australia offered what it called Tuesday a ground-breaking remuneration and benefits proposal to the nation’s elite men and women cricketers in a bid to end a pay impasse. The head body said the package meant women had the opportunity to pursue a fully professional career at both international and domestic levels, while men would continue to be among the country’s best paid sport stars. CA chief James Sutherland said the five-year Memorandum of Understanding contained a number of landmark features.

“We are pleased that the Australian Cricketers Association (players union) agrees with us that women, for the first time, should be part of the MOU, and we have proposed a financial model that has gender equity at its heart,” he said. “Under the proposal, women will receive an immediate average pay increase of more than 125 percent.”

This would see international women cricketers’ pay jump from Aus$79,000 (US$60,885) to Aus$179,000 as of July 1 this year, with an expectation that it will rise to Aus$210,000 by 2021. CA said total potential remuneration for all players, including guaranteed and performance elements, would go up from Aus$311 million over the course of the current MOU (2012-17) to Aus$419m over the next five-year period, an increase of 35 percent.

Men who represent Australia at international level would see their average yearly retainer rise to Aus$816,000 by 2021/22. With match fees and performance bonuses, the expected average income for these players — including Big Bash League Twenty20 payments — would soar 25 percent to Aus$1.45m by 2021/22, said Sutherland.

“We have placed the emphasis on increasing the guaranteed amount that the men will receive, rather than rely on any projected increase in revenue,” he added. “This is a landmark agreement. We are now looking forward to sitting down with the ACA to work through the details and we are confident we will be able to announce a completed agreement before June 30.”