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Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Professional Cricketers' Association "sent out a strong warning" to the England & Wales Cricket Board that it "will be demanding an increase in player salaries" from '20 and that it is "non-negotiable," according to Elizabeth Ammon of the LONDON TIMES. PCA Chair Daryl Mitchell is part of a team from the players union that is negotiating a new pay deal for int'l and domestic players from '20 and "sent a strong warning to the governing body that could signal the start of a pay dispute." The ECB will receive a "large injection of revenue" from a new £1.2B ($1.6B) broadcasting deal which runs from '20-24 and Mitchell believes that players at county and int'l level should receive their "fair share" of that new money. Mitchell said, "The salary cap has to rise. You can't have a situation where a huge amount more money comes into the game and the players do not benefit from it. We have made it very clear to the ECB and we are going to be very strong on this issue. It really is non-negotiable" (LONDON TIMES, 6/13).

Super League CEO Robert Elstone said that the league will "scrap the current Super 8s format next season" and switch to a "one-up, one-down" system, according to the BBC. Promotion and relegation is "currently decided by fusing the Super League's bottom four after 23 regular season games with the Championship top four." Elstone said, "The Super 8s was well-intended. In the search for a competition format that retained interest right through is a laudable objective, but what it has created is too much uncertainty and risk. Right now, 12 Super League clubs, six or seven of them are worried about dropping into the Qualifiers, getting a bad injury run and facing big life changes." Elstone said that the "uncertainty of the Qualifiers is something that needs to be removed from the rugby league structure." Hull Kingston Rovers Chair Neil Hudgell, whose side has been relegated from and subsequently promoted to the Super League under the current format, said that the changes have "widespread support throughout the top flight." However, there has already been "one dissenting voice after Elstone revealed the changes:" defending champion Leeds Rhinos CEO Gary Hetherington. A Leeds statement said, "Today's announcement regarding plans for next season appear to be an absurd grab for power for the game by a small group of men who think they own the game. Leeds Rhinos are not party to this and are totally against the creation of a separate Super League executive" (BBC, 6/12).

NOT SO FAST: The BBC reported the Rugby Football League said that no "binding decisions" have been made to the competition structure for next season, in light of Elstone's comments. The governing body said that "no such decisions" have been finalized. The RFL's statement said, "These discussions are still ongoing. The RFL has been in discussions with representatives of the Super League since the turn of the year. ... No binding decisions have been made across a range of issues, including competition structure, but progress is being made" (BBC, 6/13).