20 Apr

Tension is brewing between Cricket Australia (CA) and its state associations, with the states pushing for a greater explanation of the board’s finances before agreeing to deep cuts in their annual grants.

Senior figures in other states have commented that CA’s latest measures “appear to have come from left field” and smack of “unnecessary panic”, leaving states “bemused” and “nonplussed”. The governing body had already been basing its plans for next summer on a projected loss of 50% of annual revenue.

Urgent discussions between CA, state associations and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) continued over the weekend, after Roberts informed staff on Thursday that all but a handful of employees would be stood down on 20% of their salary until July. There are concerns among CA staff that this move is the start of a drastic downsizing of the organisation that will leave huge numbers of cricket employees entirely out of work later this year.

Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood admitted he was surprised by the dire financial situation CA reportedly finds itself in, but said players were ready to play their part.

CA announced last week it was standing down most of its staff on reduced pay from April 27 until the end of the financial year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cricket is just the latest sport to be impacted financially by COVID-19 despite getting through most of its scheduled fixtures for this season in Australia.

“It (the financial difficulty) probably took me a little bit by surprise,” Hazlewood told reporters on a video link yesterday. “Just due to the fact that it’s probably happened at the perfect time, this pandemic, for Cricket Australia I guess. It happening in March compared to the footy codes who are really in some trouble heading into their season, a little bit surprised there.

“But there’s going to be some impacts no doubt, we’re no different from any other sport and I guess it depends how long it hangs around as to how much it’s going to affect us I guess.

“If it leads into next summer it can be quite serious so obviously playing it by ear at the moment and we’ll see where we end up.”

Hazlewood said the players were prepared to do what was needed amid the financial worries.

“We’re obviously partners in the game and we’ve always said that. We’ve ridden the highs and now is probably the time to ride the lows a little bit,” he said.

John Stephenson


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