SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 21: Dan Christian of the Sixers celebrates with his team after taking the wicket of Jon Wells of the Strikers during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Sixers and the Strikers at Sydney Cricket Ground, on December 21, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia is in shock after the Seven Network commenced legal proceedings against them in a bid to nullify its $450 million TV rights deal. The decision comes amid the network's claims that "multiple quality and standard breaches" have been made.

It's a move that could rock Australian cricket, with Seven confirming it had launched Federal Court action against CA. They allege the "breaches" have been made by CA during its six-year rights deal.

Since 2018, when Seven secured the broadcast rights in a stunning coup, the network has delivered coverage of Test cricket, women's internationals, BBL and WBBL in Australia.

during the Big Bash League Final match between the Adelaide Strikers and the Hobart Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval on February 4, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia.

While the network is said to be satisfied with its broadcasts of Test cricket, it has been displeased with the rapidly declining standards of the BBL. This comes despite a global pandemic preventing many marquee players from participating in the tournament for multiple seasons.

In a statement released by the network, they outlined their reasoning for their decision to go to court.

"Seven's intention is to terminate the [Media Rights Agreement (MRA)], conditional on the Federal Court granting a declaration that Seven is entitled to do so... Seven has the right to waive this condition.

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"The damages action is not conditional. Seven will continue to perform its obligations under the MRA — in terms of telecasting Tests and BBL etc. — until terminated," the statement read.

"Seven has pursued the informal dispute resolution procedure under the MRA but the procedure failed to resolve the dispute."

Despite grumblings from the Seven Network for a while now, the move is a drastic step. A global pandemic has seriously hindered every sport on the planet and cricket has been no exception, something CA was at pains to point out in their response.

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Their statement was clear that the last two seasons of cricket in Australia have been a success despite "the enormous challenges presented" by the pandemic.

"In the circumstances, CA is astonished that Seven has brought this unwarranted action, which will be strenuously defended," the CA statement said.

"CA remains enormously proud of the efforts of the Australian Cricket family, including players, match officials, sponsors, stadium operators, host governments, staff and volunteers whose hard work, dedication and expertise allowed us to deliver two exceptional cricket seasons in unprecedented circumstances."

The first indication all was not well with the partnership came in 2020 when the network first lodged Federal Court paperwork against CA.

Recent seasons has seen a rapid decline in quality and interest in the BBL, largely due to the pandemic. The tournament has not been helped, however, by an extremely crowded fixture, which many fans feel has diluted the competition.

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With so many matches being played in the most recent seasons, spectators have begun to feel BBL fatigue, leaving CA with a monumental task to revitalise it.

With fans desperate to see the competition return to the heady early days, this latest news is undoubtedly an unwelcome distraction for Cricket Australia.