CA permits BBL clubs to sign players beyond salary cap
Cricket Australia has announced a significant change to the Big Bash League’s (BBL) contracting system that will allow clubs to sign nationally-contracted players outside of their salary cap. The move comes after two seasons of issues surrounding star player availability, most notably with Steven Smith. Players who are unlikely to be available to play can now sign with individual clubs under the new rules. If the circumstances of such players change, they will have the opportunity to be included in the club’s full-time roster and participate in the matches.
Under the new contracting changes, franchises will have the freedom to contract an unlimited number of players under the AU$3 million salary cap for their regular 18-man roster, along with two additional players outside of the cap who will be offered a standard AU$50,000 deal. If these players end up featuring in matches, their AU$50,000 deal and match fees of AU$30,000 will only count towards the cap if they actually play. The new system will cover situations such as Smith’s inability to play for the Sydney Sixers in the 2021-22 season due to not being signed with them, Additionally, Smith and David Warner were offered marketing contracts last season to represent the Sixers and Sydney Thunder, respectively.
The change is also expected to benefit players such as Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins who traditionally sit out the BBL to manage workloads. They will now be able to align with clubs and appear in marketing material. CA hopes the change will attract more big-name talent to play in the BBL, while allowing clubs to not have roster spots and significant cap space taken up by unavailable players with Tests in January this summer.
According to Alistair Dobson, the Big Bash boss, the league’s goal is to have as many high-profile players as possible participating in the BBL. The recently announced rule changes, which allow clubs to sign nationally-contracted players outside of their salary cap, are intended to make it easier for players to join the league, even if they are unlikely to be available for the entire season. The hope is that having these players around the league, and ready to play if possible, will be a significant boost to the competition.
In addition to the change regarding nationally-contracted players, CA has also introduced an overseas player draft for the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). In a significant boost to the competitions, the introduction of an overseas player draft in the WBBL will see the highest-paid overseas men’s player earn AU$420,000, while the female counterparts will collect AU$110,000. Moreover, the clubs will have to pay a minimum of AU$200,000 to their top-six men’s earners, and AU$50,000 to their top-five female players. This will provide a much-needed financial incentive for players to join the league and improve its overall competitiveness.
Overall, the changes to the BBL’s contracting system are expected to improve the league’s competitiveness and quality. With more big-name players available, the league should attract more fans and generate higher revenues. Additionally, the change will benefit franchises by allowing them to sign players on the supplementary list without worrying about the salary cap.