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Australian cricketers create 'fighting fund' for national netball players in pay dispute

Australia's cricketers have created a "fighting fund" to help the country's elite netball players amid a bitter pay dispute; Players have been out of contract since the end of September due to the ongoing issue

Australia arrive as favourites in Cape Town
Image: Australia's netball players are being supported by their nation's cricketers during their ongoing dispute

Australia's cricketers have thrown their weight behind the country's netballers, creating a "fighting fund" to help them through a pay dispute with their governing body.

Australia's Diamonds captured the Netball World Cup in August amid a background of disharmony and Super Netball players have been out of contract since September 30.

Now the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), which represents the country's male and female cricketers, has vowed to support the netballers in their quest for a revenue-sharing model.

It was a clash of two Netball heavyweights as England took on Australia
Image: It was a clash of two Netball heavyweights as England took on Australia in the World Cup final

The support includes the creation of a fund to help netballers during the spell of unemployment and the ACA said it is in talks with the Australian Athletes' Alliance and other player associations to join the initiative.

ACA chief executive Todd Greenberg pledged to stand with the netballers until their campaign is successful and called on Netball Australia to develop a long-term growth model with a partnership model akin to the five-year deal the cricketers have negotiated with Cricket Australia.

Describing the revenue-sharing model as a "win-win", he said: "The netballers are leaning on friends and family for financial support. What is disappointing is that the netballers' requests are modest and affordable for the sport.

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"The ACA believes they should be given the same partnership opportunities as our players - the same opportunities that have seen cricket thrive."

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Australia are in the midst of the four-match Constellation Cup series against local rivals New Zealand, winning the first two matches on home soil despite continuing turmoil between the Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA) and Netball Australia.

ANPA chief executive Kathryn Harby-Williams said: "Australian netballers are brave and resilient people. When your minimum wage is 40,000 dollars (£20,940) you have to show a lot of courage to take a stand.

"That's why this expression of support is so welcome. It lets the netballers know they are not alone."

Netball Australia said its latest offer, rejected by the ANPA, would increase investment by 1.275 million dollars (£670,000).

The ANPA said the players wanted a revenue-sharing agreement and said "we'd like to share in the good times we help build and we will share in the risk when times are tough".

England forwards Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell, part of the team beaten in the World Cup final, are among those unable to sign new contracts for the next Super Netball season.

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