Warrnambool cricket umpires' dispute a step closer to resolution

WARRNAMBOOL’S cricket administrators and umpires’ group have moved a step closer to resolving ongoing tensions.

Warrnambool and District Cricket Association chairman Nick Frampton said there had been “progress” on a dispute with the Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association.

The organisations have been at loggerheads since the WDCA proposed taking over the management, training and appointment of umpires in April.

Representatives of both organisations joined cricket stalwart Jim Ryan for a three-hour mediation session at Colac to sort out their differences.

Details of the mediation remain confidential, but Frampton said the WDCA and WCUA had devised a “heads of agreement”, which listed areas of consensus.

The organisations will take the document back to their members for approval. In the case of the WDCA, that includes board members and delegates of the 13 clubs.

The document will form the basis of a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the parties if there is unanimous approval.

Frampton, who did not attend the mediation, said “there were concessions made from both sides and progress was made”.

“Not everything was agreed to from what I’ve been told but at the end of the day progress has been made, which is important,” he said.

“What we wanted and what we were looking for was a better deal for umpires and umpiring in the south-west.

“That’s where this new heads of agreement is pointing us. It’s a wait-and-see now.”

Frampton expected the WDCA board to meet in the coming days. A second meeting with club delegates required at least 21 days’ notice.

Frampton said any new MoU would have “noticeable” differences to the agreement in place last season.

“From the feedback (WDCA board member) Tony (Brown) has given me, it was a productive meeting,” he said. “There’s no doubt there were passionate views put forward, but at the end of the day that’s what mediation is for.

“And that’s why it’s confidential. People can get there and say what they need to unashamedly, get all the issues on the table.”

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