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It’s just not cricket: CA calls for calm as relations with Seven deteriorate

That document included his recollections of conversations with CA executives, as well as emails and texts relating to an altering of the summer schedule, which Seven has vehemently opposed and which it believes may constitute a breach of its $450 million contract with CA.

Seven is also this week planning to announce additions to its commentary team for the summer and will make its next broadcast instalment this month, with a court battle with CA unlikely to commence until next year.

Seven executives are eyeing off a shot at the free-to-air NRL broadcast rights when they go on the market, likely next year, and believe the $70 million they spend on cricket a year would be a good start towards financing that bid.

The Australian team celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli in Canberra on Wednesday. A far bigger contest is playing out behind the scenes.

The Australian team celebrate the wicket of Virat Kohli in Canberra on Wednesday. A far bigger contest is playing out behind the scenes.Credit:Getty

To get access to that cash, however, Seven would need to terminate its CA deal with more than three years to run and while the relationship between the parties appears to be untenable at executive level, the sport maintains the network has no legal right to break the contract.

CA’s lawyer, K&L Gates partner Christien Corns, took aim at Seven for a “lack of good faith” in its latest move to seek correspondence between cricket officials and those at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Foxtel and state and territory governments.

“The scope of your client’s document request is what can only be described as extravagant,” Corns wrote in a letter to Seven’s lawyers.

While expressing concerns the releasing of such documentation could damage CA’s relations with the India board, Corns also said much of what Seven was seeking may be privileged.

“These documents could well be protected by public interest immunity and, in any event, are likely to contain highly sensitive matters pertaining to each government’s response to COVID-19. To even request them is troubling,” he said.

CA’s outside legal team branded the Seven ploy “a further distraction from the urgent need to focus on the summer cricket season at hand, which is shaping to be a mutually successful one for our respective clients”.

“In those circumstances, we hope your client therefore decides to avoid the costs, time and inconvenience of such action, and instead starts to focus on co-operating with our client to promote the game of cricket in Australia,” Corns wrote.

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Gaggin, meanwhile, took aim at Seven in response to Martin’s suggestion in his affidavit that the Tasmanian government may have delivered a financial incentive to CA to have the Big Bash League season begin in the state, a scheduling decision strongly opposed by Seven.

“The Trump-like allegations concerning the Tasmanian state government are patently absurd and untrue,” Gaggin said in a statement.

“The Tasmanian government has certainly provided an incentive. Its proactive and responsible COVID-19 policies have ensured that Tasmania is one of the world’s safest places and the perfect location to host the start of the Big Bash.

“However, let it be clear that no financial incentive was provided by the Tasmanian government to Cricket Australia for BBL matches to be played in Tasmania. The Tasmanian government continues to be a great supporter of all cricket in Tasmania.”

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