|Posted on 16 May, 2017 at 5:15|
The game is in termoil... from state level to international and in my opinion, it is the fault of James Sutherland and his Board.
If you didn’t know the history behind the game of cricket in Australia, I will give you some background information… it began at club level and as competition grew clubs formed governing bodies to manage demand. Various State bodies were formed, such as the Victorian Cricket Association (VCA) the New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA) and so on domestically.
It is from here the Australian Cricket Board of Control (ACB) was established to arrange National and International fixtures.
The Cricket Revenue generated was shared amongst the States from where it was distributed to shareholders for the development of game at “grass roots”. The game moved along very well surviving two “World Wars” and even “World Series Cricket”.
With each passing era the game adapted, moving with the ebb of time… but what we are seeing today is something completely different. You must look deep into the murky depth of what ACB has become… a governing body in search of total control over all aspects of the game in Australia, reducing the various governing bodies to irrelevancy… therefore it is a takeover and certainly not “déjà vu” from the “Packer Era” as some of you might think!
Today the ACB trades as “Cricket Australia” (CA), a governing body with an independent board, no longer representing the States and no link with the games shareholders "the owners" of the game in our Country who gave birth to it… the District Cricket Clubs and Associates.
Any normal cricket person would ask, how can this be… the answer is because we’ve allowed the governance of our game to become unbalanced… too many types have been introduced from failing tertiary backgrounds, failing cricket careers and many lack in personality, worldly cricketing knowledge or hands on grass roots experience: and
Without such experience they’d lack vision, passion or understanding of the game or its traditions and that is the reason they recruit only from within their group... otherwise they'd be found out for what they are!.
I would go so far as to say that this has been a conscious almost incestuous program for with each new recruitment the games buoyancy is lost and along with it… the ability to feed untarnished (agenda free) information from grass roots to decision makers.
It is an “imperative” for any decisions maker in Cricket to be in touch with the “pulse of the game” around this country.
As this is no longer the case, those employed in the game have been able to manipulate the system to promote their importance and along with it, their own agendas, rather than what the game requires; and
If it wasn’t their intention… why then would the game need an independent board? Wake up people!
Governance should be for the game, by the players and for the supporter of the game?
So the target now for the “CA Highbrows” is now the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA)… the games last bastion..
In my mind the ACA represents players (both former & current) but it also needs to reflect this in its governance structure... a meaningful demonstration of the wealth of knowledge that exists around the country… from where the game came from and to where the game will be taken.
For CA to take full control of the game as its governance so obviously desires it must break the ACA… so it really gets up my goat when a former player like Mark Taylor comes out against the ACA and says
“Things (discussions with the ACA) haven’t been going anywhere for months”; or
“Every time you (CA) makes money you (CA) gives away a certain percentage” obviously he’s been indoctrinated or he has no idea!
Mark is a “Channel Nine” employee who is benefitting from the games TV rights and also sits as a current serving CA Board member… talk about conflict of interest and to make such statements, his understanding of “business” let alone “cricket business” seems non-existent.
So let us look at the questions;
Who makes the money and who puts the value into the game?
Surely not the 1000 or more employed by the game across our Nation and as “Fox Colley” puts it most eloquently … “all with their noses in the trough!”
In my opinion, it is certain that without the talent of the Men’s game and its drawing power… there would be no “Revenue” and certainly no CA!
So the arguments or lack of argument between CA and the ACA, I think gets down to what should be recognised… that the top Men Players are the most valuable Asset the game has, at this point in time and should be treated as such. It should also be recognised that not always will our cricket be on top of the world game and so… perhaps a performance base salaries structure could be considered.
As for Women’s Cricket, they have been a revelation but until they have developed their game and are standing on their own it is a “marketing expense” associated with the development of the game and it should be treated as such otherwise they are getting ahead of themselves.
Expecting income when the games doesn’t cover costs can only be detrimental to all grass roots cricket including the development of the women’s game.
So in saying this… no one deserves to be entitled until the gate takings prove otherwise.
If we are really talking about “grass roots” then Cricket needs to get back to the basics. CA need to concentrate on International affairs and promoting Domestic Cricket and it needs to establish a mechanism whereby State Bodies have the power to remove poor or out of control departments or governance: and
This needs to be the same at each State level so that the game represents its origins.