Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday detailed a program of operational changes that, according to them, will deliver significant savings in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation while ensuring the long-term sustainability and growth of the game.
According to the official CA statement, 40 more jobs would be lost, taking the total tally to 200 since the crisis began in March. The Australian cricket board has also slashed 40 million dollars from its annual budget.
“The amended FY21 plan presented to staff today identifies cost reductions of approximately $40 million a year to partly mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on revenue and other factors such as biosecurity costs and match attendances,” the statement said.
“Regrettably, the plan includes a reduction of 40 roles. The positive impact of the Job Keeper program and an increasingly improved outlook for the season ahead have been recent factors considered in arriving at this final number.”
The domestic season, however, remains safe for now as CA is planning to go ahead with Marsh Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup ‘in their current formats’. Meanwhile, the Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League also remain unscathed as the board stated the usual number of matches will be played next season.
“Throughout COVID-19, the need to work closely with the cricket community and to move quickly as circumstances have changed has never been more important,” CA chairman Earl Eddings said.
“With increasing clarity about the impact of COVID-19, we have managed the financial impact on our organisation, our people, our partners and players.
“There will still be painful decisions for some parts of our organisation, but we have worked hard to carefully develop plans to protect our investment in community cricket and high-performance cricket, while ensuring the game’s financial sustainability.”
On Tuesday, CA appointed Nick Hockley as its interim Chief Executive following the resignation of Kevin Roberts. Hockley is currently the Chief Executive of the ICC T20 World Cup and also oversaw the conduct of the women’s edition of the tournament earlier this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill and the sporting arena is no exception. Most of the high profile tournaments including the Olympics stand postponed.
Even the biggest cricketing spectacle on the planet, the Indian Premier League (IPL), stands suspended indefinitely owing to the coronavirus pandemic. After Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A have recently become the other high-profile sporting events to resume after almost a three month period with almost no sporting activity. Premier League will also resume tonight.
A few cricketing boards around the world have only recently granted permission to their players to resume training.
The move to restart sporting leagues and tournaments comes after governments are beginning to realise that the coronavirus is here to stay for quite some time and sports among other businesses will need to find a way to co-exist with it.
The virus has already infected more than 8 million people around the world while claiming over 430 thousand lives. There is still no sure shot treatment of the disease and social-distancing, self-isolation and maintenance of basic hand hygiene remain the only potent weapons of protecting oneself from contracting the infection.
(With inputs from IANS)