As its decision-makers scramble to plan for the potential impacts of coronavirus on next summer, the vast majority of Cricket Australia’s staff will be stood down on reduced pay until the financial year ends on June 30.
In line with decisions already announced by some of the state associations about pay cuts – with the South Australian Cricket Association forced to jettison 23 staff and contractors – all CA staff will be asked to take a 20% pay cut or equivalent from April 27 until July.
CA is believed to be planning for a 50% reduction in revenue for next summer, which was slated to feature the Twenty20 World Cup and a lucrative tour by India, and is also understood to still be seeking clarification on whether it qualifies for the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme, which was flagged as being available to not for profit organisations.
While an internal CA report from the governing body’s chief medical officer John Orchard recently expressed cautious optimism about the game returning to cricket grounds in time for next summer, there remains a wide range of potential scenarios. Among the more extreme would be the continuation of international travel restrictions, limiting CA to domestic cricket such as the Big Bash League and WBBL, with the potential to have New Zealand touring for matches played in empty stadiums.
At its most recent AGM last October, CA reported that it had A$26 million (US$ 16 million aprox.) in cash reserves plus another A$90 million (US$ 57 million approx.) in investments. Those investments are believed to have taken a serious hit due to the economic effects of coronavirus, reducing CA’s ability to weather the current storm without making pay reductions for staff.
However, CA is understandably working through every possible scenario to allow for India to tour Australia next summer, from assessing quarantine options and hotels to more agreeable tour dates for the BCCI, which this week postponed the IPL indefinitely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the subcontinent.
“Cricket Australia – like all sporting bodies – is planning for a return to training or play although no one is certain when this will be possible at this stage, and many scenarios are being considered,” a CA spokesperson said. “We are conscious of the impact this will have on Australian cricket and are working hard to manage that proactively.
“We have made the decision during this period of isolation, where activity has naturally been reduced, to stand down our people on reduced pay (with the exception of a skeleton staff) effective 27 April for the remainder of the financial year.
“We will continue to seek advice from medical experts and relevant government agencies to ensure the health and safety of our people, volunteers and communities, and to return to business as soon as possible.”
CA had earlier announced a delay to its annual contracting for players, as the cricketers and their association accepted the likely need for retainers and match payments to be cut in line with any revenue drop. Under the MoU struck in 2017, male and female players share in around 26% of Australian cricket revenue.
A scheduled Test tour of Bangladesh by the men’s team and of South Africa by the women’s team have already been postponed, while a planned men’s ODI tour of England looks highly doubtful. Organisers of the T20 World Cup are expected to have a clearer picture of what may happen to the event next month, after the ICC holds a regular round of meetings that was postponed in March.