Australian cricket faces further cost-cutting despite improved outlook

Saturday, 30 May 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MELBOURNE (Reuters): Australian cricket faces another round of cost-cutting to shore up finances hit by the coronavirus shutdown and no part of the game will be immune, board chief Kevin Roberts said on Friday.

Cricket Australia (CA) has already furloughed about 80% of its workforce, while state associations have also made deep staff cuts in recent weeks.

CA’s financial outlook has improved with India’s four-test tour, worth an estimated A$300 million ($200 million) in revenue to CA, set to go ahead in the home summer.

But Roberts said the board was still facing an A$80 million shortfall due to COVID-19 and the high likelihood Australia will not be able to host the Twenty20 World Cup in October-November.

“So we’re focused on delivering the best season as possible noting that the likelihood of significant crowds is very slim,” he told reporters on a video call on Friday.

“Ordinarily that would deliver well over A$50 million in revenue to Cricket Australia. “The T20 World Cup is a big question and that’s a factor of perhaps A$20 million and ... it’s likely that our biosecurity measures we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of A$10 million.”

Most CA staff remain furloughed on 20% pay until the end of June, while the board’s executive team have taken a 20% pay-cut.

Roberts’ leadership amid the pandemic has been slammed by former players and media pundits, who have accused him of exaggerating the game’s financial problems.

However, Roberts said further cuts were necessary to maintain investment in community cricket as much as possible. “We’ve made a commitment to significantly reduce the cost base of Cricket Australia, unfortunately that means no area of the organisation will be untouched,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that there will be an impact on our people.”