Ashes at Risk over Aussie Cricket’s Pay Dispute

Ashes at Risk over Aussie Cricket’s Pay Dispute

On my way to work last week, I popped into our local coffee shop in Randwick, Sydney, and there was Steve Smith- Australia’s Cricket Captain; the man with the second most important job in the country, having a cuppa in his tracksuit pants and reading the paper.   For fear of stalking, I didn’t sit too close, but we were reading the same paper; and there was no avoiding the article on cricket’s pay dispute.   As he sat there calmly I felt like saying: “Mate – just fix it!  Your country needs its cricket!!”

As the summer of cricket looms, the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketer’s Association (ACA) are today reportedly close to avoiding  Arbitration and resolving the impasse. 

The dispute involves CA wishing to break away from an arrangement that has been in place for 20 years.  Under that deal, players have been paid from gross revenue from matches.  According to Fairfax Media, CA says it needs to change the model as the sport needs more than $200 million over the next five years to help develop the game, support local clubs and deal with threats from other sports.  CA wants to break with the way cricketers have been compensated which involved players receiving a set share of CA's revenue.

Under CA’s new proposal, CA bosses would pay players an amount not linked to the revenue of the sport, which the ACA believes could be as much as $2.6 billion over the next five years. But that figure has been disputed by CA which points to a "soft" TV market that could cost it up to $200m in its next TV deal for international cricket and the Big Bash League. The players, however, favour the current model because it effectively gives them partner status rather than being mere workers for hire. 

Over 200 players contracted to CA ran out of contract at the end of June and are now effectively out of work.  So as it stands, the summer’s Ashes tour is at risk.    

While it is improbable that the Ashes would get cancelled, it is quite possible that a splitting in the ranks could see a second-tier side being fielded, resulting in a white wash of the series back to England.

In 2013 I had the good fortune of travelling to the UK for a conference just after the English won the Ashes.  I would be a very wealthy man if I had $10 for every time a ‘gloating local’ took the opportunity to ‘rub my nose in it’.  Of course we Aussie’s would never sink to those lows; and are far more respectful of our sporting foes……… (I hear you choke).

England currently hold the Ashes, but at the time of my visit in 2013, England had won the last two series beforehand.   Australia however has won the most matches since the biennial series started in 1882.  Now with the series evenly poised at 32 each, I’m sure there’s many Aussies who couldn’t stand more horn blowing Brits, blowing their own!   

And as a friend of many cricketing venues, I’m sure they’re not keen on a sub-standard Test Series.  So -  in the interest of our deep ceded Colonial rivalry – PLEASE SORT THIS OUT!!!!

Fanning Waves at Great White Drop In

Fanning Waves at Great White Drop In

Every surfer’s biggest fear is being second on the food chain.  Any surfer that has survived an encounter with a Great White and survived, would be excused if they politely called “time” on their sport, and moved on to another land-based pursuit.  But not Aussie Legend, Mick Fanning who in 2015 now famously punched out his toothier opponent while competing in the finals of the World Surf League at Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa; and survived.

In some parts of the world, lightning does strike twice.

During the quarter finals in July this year, in the exact location, Fanning again had a close encounter with a beast returning to settle the score.  Fortunately however, officials had adopted significant improvements to shark monitoring and response protocols and both on-water competitors were rapidly extricated from surf zone to safety on jet skis.

But Jeffreys Bay is not the only World Surf League event affected by sharks.  In April 2016, ABC reported that during a WSL event in Margaret River, a large Great White also made its presence known. US surfer Kanoa Igarashi described the size of the shark seen at Margaret River on Thursday at sunset as "like a submarine".

In risk management terms, such near misses are important Key Risk Indicators that demand close attention. 

These events have caused event organisers to take action.  New protocols at these surf events include: shark monitoring jet skis, drones fitted with cameras, and the banning of in-water cameramen. 

These were implemented at Jeffreys Bay and helped mitigate the risk.

However two near misses in two years begs the obvious question; is it worth holding competitions in known shark locations, given the risk?  According to competitors……….yes!

Clearly the rewards of conquering the ocean far outweigh the risks.

Amusement Ride Safety under the Spotlight

Amusement Ride Safety under the Spotlight

Last month South Australian safety regulator Safe Work SA, successfully prosecuted a Queensland based company for breaches of the SA Workplace Health and Safety Act, following the 2014 death of a child at the Adelaide Show on an amusement ride. 

The incident involved a child being ejected from her seat and killed whilst riding the ‘Airmaxx 360’ at the Adelaide Showground.  The ride was owned by a Queensland based company, C J and Sons Amusement.  The company and its Co-Director, Ms Jenny-Lee Sullivan; were notionally fined $157,500 for failing to uphold their duty of care.

Ms Sullivan pleaded guilty to negligence by failing to safely maintain the ride to appropriate standards.  According to news reports, it was proven that the company had knowingly allowed show goers to ride, despite their being previous complaints and injuries from other shows in Melbourne and Sydney.  The operator had also failed to keep appropriate maintenance logs of repairs.

The case was heard in SA’s Industrial Court.  Adelaide Now reported that Magistrate Michael Ardlie had commented that the company was insolvent with debts of almost $1 million since the tragedy. As such the defendants had little prospect of paying the penalty or compensation.  The Court ordered a payment of $20,000 compensation however given their financial circumstances, they were only required to pay a crime levy of $420 each.  It was however reported that the child’s mother received a significant compensation payment from the Show’s liability insurer.

Public venues and event organisers hosting amusement rides on their site, need to be aware of the due diligence obligations required under Local Health and Safety Laws to ensure they are upholding their due diligence.  This article is not suggesting that any such failure occurred with the Adelaide Showground. 

Work Health and Safety Regulations and Australian Standards cover the use of amusement devices.  Australian Standard AS 3533.2 – sets out the key requirements to register, maintain and operate the devices.   Due diligence of amusement operators requires that they check to assure that the operator can demonstrate conformance to these Standards and compliance requirements.

Do YOU Check Your Fire Stairs?

Do YOU Check Your Fire Stairs?

The recent discovery of a body in the stairwell of a fire escape at Westfield Bondi Junction has highlighted the importance for venues to be fitted with clear signage about ways out and that they are regularly checked for safe egress.

Mariah Carey: “Test-Test One-Two”

Mariah Carey: “Test-Test One-Two”

While New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated around the globe, there wasn’t much joy for Mariah Carey at her Times Square performance last year.

On-Set Stunt Tragedy Backfires

On-Set Stunt Tragedy Backfires

Film production sets can be dangerous places as evidenced by the recent accidental shooting death of stuntman Johann Ofner in Brisbane. As reported in the Courier Mail, the strongman and budding reality TV star died after a stunt involving firearms went horribly wrong on the set while filming a music clip for hip-hop duo Bliss N Eso.

What is the risk profile for your city?

What is the risk profile for your city?

A recently released report published in the Sydney Morning Herald – ‘Resilience Sydney’ – identified a series of risks in two categories that the harbour city may face and included a number of chronic stresses and acute shocks.

The Cost of Non Compliance

The Cost of Non Compliance

A number of H&S non-compliance cases have resulted in heavy - and sometimes historic - fines for companies in the entertainment, leisure and construction industry.

The Surge of Thunderstorm Asthma

The Surge of Thunderstorm Asthma

Melbourne’s recent thunderstorm-driven asthma incident is now under investigation by the Victorian Coroner, to review the systematic issues associated with the event.  Eight people died after the weather turned suddenly on 21 November.

 Conference Update – YouRope

Conference Update – YouRope

YouRope is the Festival Association of Europe.  It has 90+ members across 27 countries representing music festivals, venues and suppliers to that industry. In September this year, the group held its 22nd annual Safety Seminar.

The Politics of Social Media

The Politics of Social Media

While this email is arriving in your inbox, the United States will be voting for their next President. In one of the longest and most hostile campaigns for the White House ever, the final two parties have given us a masterclasses in social media use.

Trust Me - You Need a Back Up Generator

Trust Me - You Need a Back Up Generator

Melbourne Cup Day - The race that stops the nation.  Workplaces shut down, pubs pause and televisions across the country (and around the world), are glued to the broadcast.

When Safety Meets Hollywood

When Safety Meets Hollywood

While on the set filming of the latest Star Wars film, it seems Harrison Ford had more to worry about than the Empire after a hydraulic door on the iconic Millennium Falcon failed and crushed its captain, “Han Solo”.

Roller Coasters that coast to a stop

Roller Coasters that coast to a stop

In the Northern Hemisphere Summer there has been a recent spate of roller coaster incidents that have delivered a different type of experience for their adventurous passengers.

Drones – the miss misses and updated rules

Drones – the miss misses and updated rules

The emergence of drones, to date called ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ or UVA’s has seen the Civil Aviation Authority update their regulations to best reflect the changing use of these small but potentially dangerous aircraft.

When inflatable arches attack!

When inflatable arches attack!

The 2016 Tour de France saw an additional obstacle to the 3,529 kilometres when an inflatable arch, sporting the races main sponsor, deflated during the final section of the seventh stage of the iconic event. 

How Much Does it Cost to Change the Outcome of the Game?

The globalisation of sport has seen sports betting become a near AUS$500 billion dollar a year industry.  With the help of the internet and smart phones, sports betting is now  at our fingertips anywhere, and at anytime. With the increase in money flowing into sports betting, comes the increased risk of match fixing and illegal betting. This is however not a new phenomenon. in 1919 the Chicago White Sox baseball team admitted to throwing the  World Series for cash (and in the case of one player, he traded for free pizza), and in the 1960’s an NFL Most Valuable Player from the Green Bay Packers was caught betting on his own matches – sometimes against himself.

More recently in Australia, the Australian Open was thrown into turmoil by a report published on popular BuzzFeed website making allegations that tennis authorities had failed to investigate match fixing by up to 15 players, including on Grand Slam Winner.  During the resulting media frenzy several players, including some Australians, came out saying they been approached, at times directly and at times via social media about fixing matches.   Australian player Nick Lindahl pleaded guilty to intentionally losing a match in 2013 and informing bettors of his plans in advance of matches. The professional associations in tennis have now established strong anti-corruption programs with strict rules around players, officials and indeed spectator activities at major tennis tournaments around the world.

And now, the New South Wales Organised Crime Squad is investigating matches in the National Rugby League (NRL) with allegations that a small number of players from one club, have links to organised crime and fixing matches.

With the ability of the public to bet so widely on major sporting competitions, and across so many markets, the inherent risks from match fixing will in our view continue to grow. .

The rapid change in technology, the growth in global sports betting market and advertising income derived from sports betting agencies, the influence of sports betting will continue to have a strong influence over sports globally for many years to come; and with it – many threats to the integrity of the game.

Love Lost in the Parade

In Germany last month, the Duisbury District Court rejected prosecution charges against authorities and event organisers of the 2010 Love Parade – where 13 women and 8 men lost their lives; crushed to death when a panicked stampede broke out in the tunnel entrance to the 2010 event. The event was established in 1989 originally in Berlin, as a free-access music festival, with floats, DJ’s and dancers attracting a crowd of around 1.4 million people.   In what has become an important case study in major event planning of crowds internationally, at the incident involved crowds becoming caught up in the tunnel entrance to the event, with certain decisions by authorities being questions as to have exacerbated the circumstances around the crush.

In a summary of the caught ruling was the prosecutors failure to  “establish proof for the acts of negligence the defendants have been charged with, and for their causality".

The prosecution based much of their evidence on reporting a British crowd safety expert, who was criticised for “Contextual and methodological defects” and for impartiality for publicly discussing the case.

And so this legal outcome gives no justice to the families of the victims, and lacks clarity around learnings for future event planners that is founded in law.