Cricket Australia offers to double incomes of female players

Australia's Peter Handscomb plays a shot during the fifth day of their third test cricket match against India in Ranchi, India, Monday,

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Cricket Australia has offered to more than double the salaries of female international players and raise payments for all professionals in a five-year deal it is proposing in lieu of a long-standing revenue sharing model.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland unveiled the plan Tuesday, highlighting that the top female players were in line for an immediate average pay rise of more than 125 percent — from an average of 79,000 Australian dollars ($61,000) to 179,000 Australian dollars ($138,000) — and an estimated average of 210,000 Australian dollars ($162,000) by 2021.

Sutherland said Cricket Australia was promoting gender equality by ensuring the minimum and average hourly pay would be the same for men and women playing for its main provincial teams in 2017-18 and the match fees for domestic one-day games would be equal.

"Cricket has led the charge on providing a real sporting career path for women" he said. "It is truly an historic development which allows us to say with confidence that cricket is a sport for all Australians."

Sutherland said the total remuneration for all players was expected to increase 35 percent from 311 million Australian dollars ($240 million) in the 2012-17 period to 419 million Australian dollars ($323 million) over the 2017-22 period. The average income for men representing Australia was expected to increase 25 percent to 1.45 million Australian dollars ($1.12 million) by 2021-22.

The players union, the Australian Cricketers' Association, and Cricket Australia are aiming to complete an agreement by June 30.

"We have placed the emphasis on increasing the guaranteed amount that the men will receive, rather than rely on any projected increase in revenue," Sutherland said. "We understand that the ACA prefers the status quo, but CA believes that the model devised in the 1990s, which is based on a fixed percentage of revenue, has served its intended purpose."

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said the union needed to scrutinize the new offer and clarify some key issues with Cricket Australia before publicly responding.

"What can be said is that this proposal shows a number of promising signs that indicate that CA has been taking the ACA's lead on various key points," Nicholson said.