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Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

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Re:

27 Nov 2017 15:49

Big_Blue_Dave wrote:Couple of things to add here. Firstly, not all staff members at BC (and certainly a large number outside the WCPP) or other sporting organisations earn more than the non-taxable grant that athletes receive. Of course, there are different levels of grant depending on your expected medal prospects, so some athletes are granted more than others. These athletes also do not have to pay for coaching, travel, medical/physio bills and in some cases smaller things like free phone contracts as these are all covered by the sports governing body mostly via funding from UK Sport and partly from income generated by the sporting body.

If Jess does go onto win this case, Olympic sport funding in the UK will likely cease to exist and it would also likely see the end of what we see now, whereby the athletes do not have to pay for the coaching and access to the training ground/velodrome/courts. This would reduce sport in the UK back to an amateur level similar to what was happening prior to the National Lottery as UK Sport would likely just decide to end funding except for travel costs to the Olympics at the detriment to the performance of the athletes. This would mean these athletes needing to self fund their sporting endeavours via work leaving less time for training and recovery which they do not have to do at this moment.

It could easily be said that the phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face would very much come to mind over this case.

Personally, I don't see athletes as employees in the UK. The State provides funding to allow the individual to perform at the best of their ability on a tax free basis, and then allows the individual to earn an income through prize money and other personal sponsorship deals which is then taxed on. It would be interesting to see how well the performances and therefore the sponsorship levels will hold out if all of what is received now is stopped.


Again, no one entity is seeing athletes as employees or non-employees. British Cycling most certainly has a duty of care to its athletes and that what’s at stake here. Whether Varnish received a grant or not is neither here nor there .
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 16:14

thehog wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:
thehog wrote:And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)


Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.


If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 16:54

Uber case similar - but will only set a precedent for Uber drivers, not Olympic athletes

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/24/uber-to-take-appeal-over-ruling-on-drivers-status-to-uk-supreme-court
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 21:35

Wiggo's Package wrote:
thehog wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:
thehog wrote:And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)


Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.


If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D


The doctrine of precedent will only occur from a higher court and not an employment tribunal. Arbitration will not set a precedent nor define an entire category of persons an employee or nor an employee.
Last edited by thehog on 27 Nov 2017 21:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 21:38

Wiggo's Package wrote:Uber case similar - but will only set a precedent for Uber drivers, not Olympic athletes

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/24/uber-to-take-appeal-over-ruling-on-drivers-status-to-uk-supreme-court


The Uber hearing did not set a precedent, it mearly classed the drivers as ‘workers’ rather than independent contractors in its findings.
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 21:58

thehog wrote:
Wiggo's Package wrote:
thehog wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:
thehog wrote:And of course back to my original point; it doesn’t class her as an employee.
And I never said that receipt of a grant would guarantee employment status. Read what I wrote Hoggy: I very specifically said the opposite.

(You, however, did say, very clearly, that tax law "doesn’t distinguish between one person to another." The case studies provided by HMRC clearly demonstrate that you are talking through your ****.)


Again to my original point, whether Varnish wins or loses her claim, it won’t redefine all athletes as employees. That is scare mongering by UK Sport. Very simple, not sure why you’re trying to confuse the issue.


If Varnish wins her Employment Tribunal case and establishes herself as an employee then:

1. With employee status she can move on to sue British Cycling for discrimination; and

2. A precedent will have been set that could well redefine all athletes in analogous situations (i.e. those on a national sports federation Olympic programme but receiving grant income) as employees of their relevant sports federation

If that happens, the athletes will gain employment rights and the sports federation will have additional obligations including paying tax/NI on the employees' salaries and making pension contributions, etc

But I agree that UK Sport (and those sympathising with UK Sport's position on here) are scaremongering. Firstly grants to athletes are only one element of the overall cost of funding Olympic athletes (comfortably less than half I'd guess) and a 20% increase in salary costs (so less than 10% overall) can be absorbed by reductions elsewhere in expenditure - it won't bring the whole house down

And secondly it would be good to see the UK's national sports federations doing the right thing by their athletes. Not just in terms of the current lack of employment rights. But maybe it would help put an end to the bullying and sexism across a range of sports. And all that unethical grey area stuff which fades to back that even an innocent like Wiggo can get sucked into... :D


The doctrine of precedent will only occur from a higher court and not an employment tribunal. Arbitration will not set a precedent nor define an entire category of persons an employee or nor an employee.


Fair enough but the sports federations as publicly funded bodies would I suspect feel obliged to follow any precedent. For sure that's what's making them nervous

Uber (where as you point out the facts are different but the principle is the same) lost in the ET and then at the ET Appeals stage. Uber now want to escalate straight to the supreme court. Why would they risk a binding supreme court precedent which could never be overturned and which would ruin their gig economy business model if they could just ignore the ET ruling other than for the 2 driver who brought that case?
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

27 Nov 2017 22:08

Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

28 Nov 2017 09:55

thehog wrote:Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.


I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

30 Nov 2017 04:11

Wiggo's Package wrote:
thehog wrote:Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.


I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)


Grant funded athletes already file tax returns listing out grant money as income, they are effectively self employed. Laura Trott already earns from serveral sources but what Laura Trott doesn’t have is a grievance channel if she ever finds herself discriminatinated against. Only good can come from this case just like the Bosman ruling in football, which at the time clubs said was going to destroy them and hold them hostage to player demands.
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Re: Varnish finally sues BC/UK Sport

30 Nov 2017 09:43

thehog wrote:
Wiggo's Package wrote:
thehog wrote:Federations do not follow precedent only courts do. The Federation may be ordered perform a specific remedy but they only need to adhere to law. What would worry UK Sport is a specific ruling in a higher court may encourage others to take action based on a new ruling even those who settled out of court in previous years. Defending all those actions might bankrupt and consume them in endless legal action.

Uber want to go for the Supreme Court to bankrupt the drivers from defending their recent win and claim. Get them into the most expensive court in the land and endlessly argue employment case law since the beginning of time. They shouldn’t be allowed to do it and it’s cost prohibitive to the drivers. Employment tribunal exists for a reason and if you wish to appeal then step to the appeals court, county court. If county court upholds the drivers claim then the Supreme Court should not even grant an appeal.


I think you're confusing two different issues

You're correct to say that only a higher court judgement can bind lower courts on the same facts. That's the big picture

But focusing narrowly on BC, if any court decides that one of BC's grant funded Olympic athletes is an employee then I believe it's correct to say that BC will have to adjust its employment practices for all grant funded Olympic athletes (unless BC can win an appeal and overturn the decision). And if you extrapolate outwards all UK Sport funded national federations will feel obliged to adjust their employment practices for their grant funded Olympic athletes because they all operate under the same model

Or to put it another way - if Varnish wins her ET case, establishes that she is an employee and is allowed back onto the Olympic programme, is BC really going to put Varnish on a salary with full employment rights paying her tax/NI/pension and keep the rest of its athletes on arms length grant funding with no employment rights? Can you imagine the uproar?! And OK, BC is unlikely to let Varnish back on the Olympic programme, but what happens when Laura Trott or anyone other elite BC athlete takes BC to an ET and gains full employment rights, etc (which will be a slam dunk case if Varnish wins) - BC will cave in immediately and will have to treat everyone the same. Same goes if the Olympic rowers take their federation to an ET, etc

As for the Uber case, I don't think Uber have asked to get straight to the Supreme Court to price the drivers out of the litigation. For a start IIRC the drivers' legal fees are being funded by a union. And although I haven't been to the Supreme Court I have been to the Court of Appeal and the cost of that appeal was much less than the cost of the original High Court trial. By the time of any appeal the legal legwork has been done and it's just a matter of focusing on the key/contentious issues. It's much quicker and cheaper (the barrier to entry is usually persuading the judge that you have valid ground for appeal rather than cost)


Grant funded athletes already file tax returns listing out grant money as income, they are effectively self employed. Laura Trott already earns from serveral sources but what Laura Trott doesn’t have is a grievance channel if she ever finds herself discriminatinated against. Only good can come from this case just like the Bosman ruling in football, which at the time clubs said was going to destroy them and hold them hostage to player demands.


Agree that athlete shouldn't be powerless if they are mistreated - we've seen what happens when coaches have unfettered power and it's not pretty

But the potential financials implications of Varnish's litigation are also important. And check out this ECJ case reported yesterday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42164201). If Varnish wins her case and the Court of Appeal follows the ECJ ruling as per that link that really could cripple BC and the other sports federations financially. They might have to make backdated holiday pay and pension payments etc to all grant funded Olympic athletes since that funding model was introduced. (Btw FWIW I suspect the Court of Appeal will find a way to ignore that ECJ ruling on public policy grounds)
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30 Nov 2017 15:31

Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.
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Re:

30 Nov 2017 16:29

Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


Gig economy innit. UK government making it easier for bosses to shaft workers every year. UK Sport/BC just going with the flow. Loadsa publicly funded bodies finding ways to pay less tax. A dark irony of neoliberalism. Athletes will be on zero hours contracts soon enough. Sports Direct indeed...
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Re:

30 Nov 2017 23:07

Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


It’s so guys like Sutton can maintain control over his minions and keep his antiquated views of the world in place :rolleyes:
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Re:

08 Dec 2017 20:51

Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


The staff are usually freelance contractors. Athletes are not employed, simply because you want the fastest riders in your team, not those there because employment rights say they should be there. It's a bit like golf basically.
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Re: Re:

08 Dec 2017 23:45

samhocking wrote:
Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


The staff are usually freelance contractors. Athletes are not employed, simply because you want the fastest riders in your team, not those there because employment rights say they should be there. It's a bit like golf basically.

What’s wrong with a contracted pool of riders that is renewed every 12 months? Cricket Australia has done this for a long time, with around 25 players holding contracts that are reviewed every 1 to 3 years, guaranteeing financial stability and the ability to focus on training and results without distraction.

A small core of riders on guaranteed contracts with BC would be the smartest way to keep riders happy and onside.
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09 Dec 2017 13:17

Golf? Is golf a public funded sport in Great Britain? I can't believe that. There are almost zero similarities between public funded cycling with it's bureaucratic domination with the top guys, the staff, paying themselves huge salaries from the funding and Golf where each golfer plays for prize money for income as an individual and not funded by tax payers and who don't have 30 people on more money than them telling them what to do or else.

You're having me on aren't you samhocking?
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Re: Re:

09 Dec 2017 13:20

thehog wrote:
Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


It’s so guys like Sutton can maintain control over his minions and keep his antiquated views of the world in place :rolleyes:


Seems much more accurate and honest than Samhocking's account of it.
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02 Dec 2018 17:49

Varnish case set to commence:
The hearing is due to take place from Dec 10-16.
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Re:

02 Dec 2018 20:19

fmk_RoI wrote:Varnish case set to commence:
The hearing is due to take place from Dec 10-16.


Your link comes up with a 404 error - this works -
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cycling/2018/12/01/jessicavarnish-legal-case-threatens-olympic-hopefuls-funding/
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Re: Re:

03 Dec 2018 12:12

42x16ss wrote:
samhocking wrote:
Craigee wrote:Please tell me the law experts here. The funding covers everything involved in running British Cycling does it not? So why then are the coaches, mechanics, physiotherapists, and all the rest of the staff employees but not the Athletes who at a crazy wild guess is what it is all about? The Athletes. Why can't the athletes be employees instead of having to receive separate grants away from the funding structure? Isn't it a bit old and archaic and isn't it time to change things? We drive cars today not horse and buggy.


The staff are usually freelance contractors. Athletes are not employed, simply because you want the fastest riders in your team, not those there because employment rights say they should be there. It's a bit like golf basically.

What’s wrong with a contracted pool of riders that is renewed every 12 months? Cricket Australia has done this for a long time, with around 25 players holding contracts that are reviewed every 1 to 3 years, guaranteeing financial stability and the ability to focus on training and results without distraction.

A small core of riders on guaranteed contracts with BC would be the smartest way to keep riders happy and onside.


Absolutely nothing is wrong with that. Happy riders in secure, or more secure, positions can focus more on training and achieving long-term goals, recovering from injury/fatigue, balancing work and life etc.
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