Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has called on the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) to enter into a period of intense negotiations over coming days in order to resolve the ongoing pay dispute between the two governing bodies in toto.
Imposing a deadline on the stalled Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) negotiations, Sutherland said that the matter would be referred to independent arbitration if the pay dispute with the players remains unresolved by early next week, with CA also pledging to abide by the umpires' decision.
Sutherland, while expressing his concern about the delay, said the ongoing pay dispute between CA and ACA had reached the point where next month's proposed Test tour to Bangladesh, a subsequent ODI series in India and the upcoming Ashes series against England are potentially at risk.
"I've been involved in the negotiations over the last month and while there's been some progress in that time, I've had some increasing concerns about whether everyone is going at the same pace and dealing with this issue with the same level of urgency," cricket.com.au quoted Sutherland as saying.
Dismissing the proposed `peace plan` put forward by the players' union last week, Sutherland emphasised that the announcement by cricket board would enable the players to be re-contracted on an interim basis at the start of arbitration, and to remain contracted until the final MoU can be signed.
Sutherland dismissed the proposal put forward last week by the players' union as a possible 'peace plan' as delivering an outcome that was detrimental to future investment in grassroots cricket, and has called for the ACA to address the impasse as a matter of priority.
"I acknowledge the ACA has put forward a document known as a peace plan, it claims that there could be something like $30 million that flow to grassroots that plan but like any plan, the devil is in the detail," Sutherland said.
"And certainly, as we do our analysis on that plan, we find that cricket as whole is worse off and certainly our ability to fund greater investment in grassroots is compromised by the way that plan is put together," he added.
Players, having central contracts and state players without multi-year deals, were left unemployed after the deadline for a new MoU was not brokered by June 30.
More than 200 leading cricketers are affected by the dispute between CA and the ACA.
The ACA and players subsequently opted to boycott the upcoming Australia A tour of South Africa after the CA and ACA failed to reach the common grounds in their pay dispute.
ACA had earlier rejected the new pay offer from the game's governing body, saying the proposal will be a win for cricket administrators but a loss for the game.
In March, CA made an offer, proposing that the average pay of Australia's international women's players would rise from $A79,000 to $A179,000, while the average remuneration of state cricketers would more than double to $A52,000.
Under CA's proposal, only male international players would have the chance to share in any surplus revenue, while other domestic male players and women at both domestic and international level would have to settle for fixed amounts which would not fluctuate according to the game's income.
However, the ACA pointed out a series of concerns with the proposal, saying that it "disrespects the value of domestic cricketers and the role they play in Australian cricket".
The major reason behind the ACA's opposition is CA's proposal to scrap a shared revenue model for player payments, which has been in place for nearly 20 years.
Cricket Australia had in May threatened that players would not be paid beyond June 30, the date of expiry of their current five-year financial deal, if they don't accept the governing body's new proposed offer.