Cricket Business: Cricket Australia rushed into cost-cutting measures in wake of COVID-19 pandemic says NSW chief

Cricket Australia rushed into introducing cost-cutting measures and it should delay the slashing of grants of state associations till a clearer picture emerges about India’s upcoming tour, feels New South Wales (NSW) bosses.

CA, led by chief executive Kevin Roberts, had claimed that it has suffered a AUD 20 million (10.6 million pounds) fall in revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its cost-cutting measures, the governing body had furloughed about 80 percent of its staff and is currently pushing member states to agree to a 25 per cent cuts to their grants, besides being in talks with players about adjusting pay.

Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon and chairman John Knox in an email to its staff and other stakeholders said it will wait to understand if cost reduction was required.

“Cricket Australia has proposed a 25 per cent reduction to its distributions to each state and territory for the upcoming 2020/21 season,” the email was quoted as saying by ‘the Age’.

“We are waiting for further information from Cricket Australia on its financial position. This information will help us understand whether any cost reductions throughout Australian cricket are required and, if so, where it is best to make those reductions.

“We believe that any decision to reduce the agreed state distributions should be delayed until there is a better understanding of whether international cricket will be played next season.”

Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia have already accepted the cut in distribution of grants, while Western Australia agreed on the condition that all the others should also do.

The decision has already led to job losses around the country with Cricket Victoria being the most affected as 36 per cent of their full-timers have been shown the door.

“As a result of the Cricket Australia proposal, some states have already reduced their commitment to community cricket, potentially impacting the long-term future of the game,” Germon and Knox said in the email.

CA is staring at a staggering USD 300 million loss if India’s tour doesn’t go as planned due to the pandemic.

BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal had said that though it is premature to talk about resumption of cricket, India’s tour of Australia later this year is likely to go ahead.

Germon and Knox said that “Cricket NSW is encouraged that the prospect of India touring in the upcoming season has increased over the past month.”

“We would like to reassure you that Cricket NSW is absolutely committed to investing in the game of cricket at all levels to ensure future generations experience the joy of playing Australia’s national sport,” Germon and Knox said in their email.

The chairman of Australia’s professional cricketers’ union had also slammed the national board’s cost-cutting measures, saying they could have “disastrous” consequences for the game over the long term.