ACA slams Cricket Australia’s ‘disastrous slash and burn approach’
Australian Cricketers Association’s (ACA) chairman Greg Dyer has slammed the national board’s “slash and burn approach” to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it will “have disastrous long-term consequences on the health of the game”.
Under immense financial stress, Cricket Australia has put 80 percent of its staff on 20 percent salary till end of June, while a handful of others, including the executives, remained on 80 percent pay to cope up with the challenges posed by the pandemic.
The decision saved the board AUD 3 million, which was slammed by critics due to the fact that CA had some AUD 90 million in reserves at the end of March (2020), including 36 million in stock investments.
Dyer also questioned the board’s financial policy, saying the game has “yet to experience a significant negative revenue event”.
“It saddens me, that for the game that I have loved my whole life, cricket’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic is risking an opportunity lost,” Dyer said in an article posted on the ACA website.
“Given the game is so far yet to experience a significant negative revenue event associated with the pandemic, it should be in a relatively strong financial position, particularly relative to the winter sports, and with the benefit of time should emerge with a distinct advantage to other sports who’ve been caught directly in Covid’s crosshairs.” The former Test wicketkeeper feels this is the right time to improve the game.
“Now is not the time to diminish the game but instead... to seize the moment and improve it,”he said.
CA is also urging state associations to accept a 25 per cent pay cut and Dyer feels there is something “horribly wrong” with the current model.
“That at the first sign of a headwind, states are being asked to take significant cuts, which are in turn filtering down to local cricket, suggests that something is horribly wrong with the current model.” He cautioned CA against its current approach which, according to Dyer, will have disastrous long-term consequences.
“This is a critical time for the game – it can either take the approach of looking to cut as many so-called ‘costs’ as it can from its balance sheet, something that will have disastrous long-term consequences on the health of the game; or it can realign so that the game’s partners (actually, its ‘shareholders’ - the states) have greater voice and autonomy than the mere ‘subsidiaries’ they currently resemble.” CA is looking at a staggering AUD 300 million loss if the India Tour in October doesn’t go ahead due to the coronavirus. There is also the T20 World cup which Australia is scheduled to host in October-November.