David Warner. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
David Warner. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS

Sydney — Vice-captain David Warner has attacked Cricket Australia’s handling of a pay dispute and once again raised the spectre of an Ashes series boycott by players later in 2017.

The feisty opener has not backed away from claims he made in May of a potential players’ strike during the showpiece home series against England, starting in November.

Cricket Australia has threatened not to pay contracted players beyond the June 30 expiry of their current financial deal if they do not accept a new offer.

But Warner has gone on the front foot, claiming the governing body had announced its argument primarily through media briefings.

"If we are unemployed, we have no contracts, we can’t play," he told Fairfax Media in England at the Champions Trophy on Monday.

"We are pretty sure that they will come to an agreement. But, as you know, we are going to be unemployed come July 1. So we have to wait and see."

Warner said beyond "a couple of e-mails", Cricket Australia management had not engaged with its contracted players.

"It is only what we hear in the media and that’s how Cricket Australia have been driving it the whole way," he said.

"They have been using the media as a voice and we get the message from there."

Warner again pledged his "full support" to fellow players and affirmed he is "100%" behind the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

"They are doing a great job for us," he said. "From a players’ point of view, we are pretty vocal and upbeat."

Warner added he remained hopeful a new memorandum of understanding can be struck between now and June 30.

"It is a big thing that we could be unemployed, but from us, our job is to play cricket, focus on winning the [Champions Trophy] tournament and not let our country down," he said.

Cricket Australia is determined to scrap revenue-sharing after 20 years, saying more funds are needed for the game’s grassroots, and the offer it has on the table provides handsomely for players.

But the cricketers association is equally resolved to keep revenue-sharing, saying the system does not need fixing.

With no end in sight to the remuneration impasse, the association has disclosed plans to form a new business to help male and female players directly negotiate sponsorship deals.

Establishing "The Cricketers’ Brand", designed to manage and commercialise player’s intellectual property rights, was necessary due to "the uncertainty of all parties regarding intellectual property matters should the players be unemployed post June 30", the players association recently said.

AFP

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