Sutherland: Arthur has not embarrassed CA

BEN HORNE
Last updated 21:29 18/07/2013

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Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says the public airing of Mickey Arthur's compensation claim isn't an embarrassment rather an "unfortunate distraction".

After being sacked as Australian coach on the eve of the Ashes series with two years to run on his contract, Arthur is now seeking up to $4 million from CA and has filed proceedings through the Fair Work Commission (FWC) of Sydney.

Central to his claims are allegations of racial discrimination and details about an alleged toxic relationship between captain Michael Clarke and Shane Watson.

Sutherland said it would be inappropriate for him to discuss Clarke and Watson's dynamic, after Arthur alleged Clarke had told him that Watson was a "cancer" on the team.

Due to the legal process, the CEO said he was unable to go into any kind of detail on the nature of Arthur's contract and whether CA could have done anything to avoid the fiasco by offering a higher payout in the first place.

However, Sutherland said the timing of the personal and damaging details on the eve of the Lord's Test were "distracting" rather than "embarrassing".

"Embarrassing is not the word that comes to mind for me. Perhaps an unfortunate distraction for some people," Sutherland said.

"I'm not in a position to be able to go through any of that sort of detail.

"I'm not going there and I can't go there. It's an unfortunate distraction.

"I don't want to say any more than that except that we are very comfortable with our legal position."

Sutherland was in England following Australia's disappointing exit from the Champions Trophy, when the decision was made to terminate Arthur's contract.

After arriving back in London on Wednesday, Sutherland said the difference in the team environment between then and now couldn't have been more stark.

Sutherland said new coach Darren Lehmann has ironed out the tensions that were plaguing the side.

"We've got a team that's galvanised and very, very focused and it showed in their performances I think at Nottingham," he said.

"Hopefully it will continue to show for the rest of this series.

"You can see it in the way they're moving around the hotel, you can see the way they're moving around the ground.

"I know that by observation but I also know that by talking to people around the team.

"The first thing I wanted to do when I got in was talk to people who I had spoken to three weeks ago.

"I'm not going to say who they were but you wouldn't have to be too smart to work out the people I've caught up with.

"The team is in a really good place."

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