Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Executive Kevin Roberts has said deep staff pay cuts were necessary to shore up the game’s finances amid the coronavirus shutdown, despite the governing body holding tens of millions of dollars in stock investments.
CA announced plans to furlough almost 80 percent of staff last week, putting them on 20 percent pay until 30 June when it is hoped more will be known about how long government curbs to control the coronavirus will last.
The cuts, which will save A$3 million ($1.89 million), have drawn criticism from media pundits, given CA had some A$90 million in reserves at the end of March including A$36 million in stock investments.
Roberts, however, said CA had to be prepared for further blows to the game’s finances if a sustained shutdown put paid to all cricket in 2020, including the Twenty20 World Cup on home soil in October and hosting India in a lucrative test series.
“It wasn’t an over-reaction because we’re dealing with a situation that’s hitting us unfortunately at the low point of our cash cycle over four years,” Roberts told reporters in a video conference call on Tuesday.
“In early September ... if there are more shots (to CA’s finances) as we’ve had over the last month or more, that in fact would effectively chart a path to zero if we weren’t to take drastic action.
“Then you layer on top of that the possibility that the international season doesn’t go ahead, that’s an issue of hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Players, who are paid a share of total revenues generated by the game, also face significant pay cuts if the shutdown continues deep into the year.
Roberts was CA’s lead negotiator in acrimonious talks for a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union in 2017, and was ultimately defeated in his attempts to have them agree to abandon a long-standing revenue-sharing model.
He declined to confirm whether CA would ask players to take pay cuts even before the full extent of the financial impact from the shutdown is known.
“We’re working through the detail of player payments with the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association),” he said.
“What we’ve all seen and heard ... they’re acknowledging everyone has a role to play here in helping to fight this situation, including the players in Australia’s national teams.”
Roberts added that all options were on the table for domestic and international cricket, including playing the entire India entire test series at a single venue or at closed stadiums, if required to manage the health risks.
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