MELBOURNE: Reports appearing online and on social media channels provided heft to growing speculation Monday that a resolution was at hand to the protracted pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the players' union.
However, CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) declined to comment on the progress of intensive talks that continued to take place here Monday.
Representatives from CA and the ACA spent much of the weekend locked in negotiations that resumed Monday morning.
Australia's Daily Telegraph was quite categorical though in reporting that CA chief executive James Sutherland and his ACA counterpart Alistair Nicholson had agreed on all key terms and were set to announce at a joint press conference as early as Tuesday that at long last, a pay deal has been reached.
The days of intensive negotiations came after Sutherland told a media conference last week that a "hard deadline" needed to be imposed on the talks to try and bring about a resolution to the nine-month stalemate. Sutherland said last Thursday that if a Heads of Agreement on a new MOU could not be reached "by early next week" then the unresolved issues should be sent to independent, mutually agreed arbitration.
That move would allow around 230 men's and women's players currently unemployed in the absence of an MoU to be immediately re-signed on short-term contracts and return to the playing field.
The effect of that being the next looming international playing commitment – the men's scheduled two-Test tour to Bangladesh due to get underway next month – would be able to proceed as planned.
The ACA released a statement on the weekend outlining its concerns about an arbitration process, but both parties claimed their priority was to resolve the matter through negotiations that continued until late last night and resumed Monday.
If, as expected, agreement is reached, the Australian team is due to arrive in Bangladesh for a two-test tour on 18 August.