Arthur denies leaking details of legal case
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Mickey Arthur says he tried to avoid “collateral damage” to the Australian cricket team when he launched legal action over his dismissal as national coach and claims he became the victim of a “deliberate campaign” to taint his reputation.
Arthur read a prepared statement to reporters Monday on his return to Australia from South Africa, where he had attended his mother’s funeral. He said neither he nor any of his associates were responsible for the leak to the news media of details of his case against Cricket Australia in which he is seeking $4 million in compensation for unfair dismissal.
The leak of claims by Arthur of serious divisions in the national team, particularly between captain Michael Clarke and former vice-captain Shane Watson, occurred immediately before Australia’s second Ashes test against England.
Arthur said he tried to protect the Australian team and Australian cricket from fallout over his firing and still hoped to settle the case over his dismissal by conciliation. He said his efforts had been negated by the deliberate leaking of details of the case he will take to the employment arbitrator Fair Work Australia.
“Selective leaks by others have ruined my attempts to protect the Australian cricket team and everyone involved,” Arthur said.
He said he’d been left with little choice but to launch legal action seeking compensation or reappointment after he was summarily sacked part-way through his contract.
“After my dismissal, I received nothing in writing from Cricket Australia, no contact, and no payment at all, not even of my basic leave pay, until I was forced to bring in lawyers to assist in the process,” he said. “I had tried on a number of occasions to make direct contact at a very senior level of Cricket Australia. For days there was just no response.
“I was really trying for a private resolution that would not have any collateral damage to the reputation of any of us, the Australian team, Australian cricket, or me. I thought, perhaps naively, that under all the circumstances of my dismissal, that Cricket Australia would be willing to have sensible and good faith talks in private.
“Sadly that hasn’t happened.”
Arthur said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland had acknowledged that he was, to some extent, a scapegoat for Australia’s recent poor form.
“I find that a totally unfair basis to end my career,” he said. “The damage to my reputation and career has been immense, which means the chances of me getting a senior job are that much less.
“I was truly shocked and devastated by my dismissal. I had received a positive appraisal on all my key performance indicators just prior to departing for the Ashes tour.”
Arthur said he was told that an incident in a Birmingham bar, in which Australian opening batsman David Warner punched England opener Joe Root, was “the last straw” that led to his dismissal.
“I received no hearing at all over that issue, and no one was doing more to improve discipline in the young Australian team than I was,” he said. “In spite of what has been a deliberate campaign against me in the past days, I am still willing to resolve this dispute on a fair and just basis.”
Arthur said he wished the Australian team well, and refused to take questions from reporters.
Cricket Australia later released a statement saying it disputed a number of elements of Arthur’s statement.
“We will not be articulating these disputes publicly except to say that we are confident in our legal position, are comfortable with the level of support provided to Mickey and look forward to resolving this matter in an appropriate manner,” it said.