The global player's poll

My quick look at the global employment report numbers

The global player's union (FICA) that represents the majority of professional cricketers has released their latest employment report for 2018/19.  It's something they do every few years as a way of keeping track of the game.

They have put up some key points they believe need to be addressed. So I'll take a quick look at a few. The entire survey was taken before the whole global pandemic thingy.

Not all cricketers are in a union

Any union would be upset at this, it's missed membership to start with. But cricketers globally would be better served if they were all represented by one group.  That's not to say that unions can't be corrupted and end up as selfish organisations. But the average Test player appears in seven Tests. My guess is that first class, and T20s would be the same, meaning most careers aren't long or played by stars. They need protection. Nothing to do with cricket, but WNBA players only just got maternity leave. Sport has a way to go to give their employees fundamental workplace rights.

Governance and corruption issues

This one seems serious; someone should make a film about this. There are clear governance and basic corruption problems right through cricket. Like what is the process of how you get a World Cup. Who votes, is there a vote? Why is none of this done publicly? At one stage all major men's tournaments were slated for India, Australia and England. And even when all them aren't, most of them are.

Getting paid is a problem

This is probably one of the more ignored parts. Cricketers are playing the game and owners are not paying them. Or their payments are massively late - up to a year -  causing real-world problems. This is huge for me, as two franchises still owe me money that I will never receive. The ICC sanctions these leagues and then does nothing to help players who are ripped off.

Being a pro cricketer is not a secure job

At one level, I'm not sure any athlete in any sport is a secure job. But part of this was the fact that 16% of players felt bullied by their employer. I wonder how much of this is owners versus boards. But because of the nature of cricket is  - for now at least - nation-based, it means if you upset your employer, your income is severely hurt.

Restraint of trade

The arbitrary nature of how non-objection certificates are given for T20 leagues really annoys players. A big name T20 star told me once that players are like kids, they don't always say a lot, but they notice every injustice and then lash out in tantrums. This issue will only get worse as the ICC and many boards want to limit the number of leagues cricketers can play in. If that sounds like restraint of trade - well you read the header already too I suppose - it is. Now, this might be better for the game. But if you're a T20 gun from Nepal/West Indies/Ireland/etc, and you can only play in two leagues outside your own, and your own board can't afford to pay you a good wage when you play for them, then you're stuffed. Being that even top players usually only have 10 years of maximum earning potential, putting a limit on what they can make is horrible for players. But it's also dangerous, things like this lead to rebel leagues.

International cricket remains a mess

FICA refers to the World Test Championship as a sticking plaster. And there are now so many nations and leagues that I cant see a painless solution for this. A two-tier ODI and Test system (a proper one, not like this) is one way of doing it. But essentially the only way to fix this is to stop all cricket, get every stakeholder in the world together, work out the best way for cricket to grow globally as an entire sport with give and take from all sides.  Since that won't happen, cricket will continue to fumble in the dark with its sticking plasters.

Test cricket is still the pinnacle

Yeah, until you have to pay your mortgage. Until we make more money from Test Cricket this won't happen. (Imagine a league where everyone got a share, players were paid from a general pool, it was all streamed on cricket.TV for everyone in the world to buy their own package). At the moment, this is little more than a question for polls like this. Players still rate each other on Test performances, it's a tougher form of cricket. But Betamax was a better form of tape than VHS, and both are pretty much dead.


Over the years most of the player's union people I have dealt with are trying to do great things to support the people we watch. I've found them some of the smartest most diligent trustworthy administrators in the game. But FICA is hamstrung by Pakistan and Indian players not being involved. They work less as a union globally, and more as an occasional mouthpiece for player issues. They often say sensible things, but aren't listened to enough. Add them to the pile when it comes to that. Cricket is a sport where everyone talks, and no one listens. 57%* of players agree with that.

*One player was surveyed by me for this stat.