13 May

The financial position of the Cricket West-Indies (CWI), in common with the less wealthy cricket boards around the world, is deteriorating by the day.

With no broadcast rights deal yet secured, revenues hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on scheduled tournaments and their share of revenue generated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in decline, finances are stretched to breaking point.    

To address the financial emergency the CWI board has put in place a financial strategy review committee, which will be responsible for reviewing their short and medium-term financing needs.

The committee is being chaired by the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Billy Haven, Dr Shallow, Directors Imran McSood, Conde Riley, Enoch Lewis, chairman of the CWI’s Audit Risk and Compliance (ARCC) Wilbur Harrigan and CWI’s CEO Jonathan Grave.

The committee is tasked with assessing the related financial implications for future international tours, regional tournaments and High Performance (HP) camps with regards to revenue, operating expenses, cash flow and re-scheduling or cancellation of events.

They will also review the current CWI cost structure and make recommendations on new areas for potential cost-reduction in addition to making recommendations generally on how CWI will need to operate to continue its core business, specifically given the changing but uncertain economic environment.

The CWI is worried that despite searching for the right media rights (broadcast & digital) partner for the next cycle, all talks with potential suitors are still ongoing. The President of CWI, Ricky Skerritt,  spoke of the governing body’s finances in relation to the pending broadcast deal which like any other sporting federation is the biggest source of revenue for CWI.

“The broadcast rights money expired in December last year and we still do not have completed negotiations with most countries …,” he said. “One, you should really enter the market about two years before the end of the [deal] to start negotiating and trying to cajole and to convince the broadcasters to do business with you. We didn’t go to the market till around the same time I became president last year so we’ve not had enough time in the market and to make it worse, the market has become very, very uncertain so revenues which under normal circumstances we would have already begun collecting from broadcast rights, we have not done as yet.” said Skerritt.

Another big worry for CWI is the ICC’s revenue shares to the member boards. If the T20 World Cup does not happen the board is set to lose their revenue share thought to be 7.2% of the total surplus of the ICC revenue shares.

“Revenues continue to decline, expenses are fixed and even when you try to reduce some of the administrative or operational costs, you still have payrolls that exceed US$1.5 million dollars per month to cover players, etc and other fixed costs that just won’t go away.”, added Skerritt.

Without any doubt, the situation is alarming for CWI and uncertainty surrounding around the Future Tour Program and the T20 World Cup is making for an uncertain future.

The committee will send its recommendations to CWI’s board by May 28th.

John Stephenson


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