In an email to staff and other stakeholders, and seen by the Herald, Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon and chairman John Knox made it clear they thought CA had acted too soon.
“Cricket Australia has proposed a 25 per cent reduction to its distributions to each state and territory for the upcoming 2020/21 season,” the email, sent last Friday, said.
“We are waiting for further information from Cricket Australia on its financial position. This information will help us understand whether any cost reductions throughout Australian cricket are required and, if so, where it is best to make those reductions.
“As a result of the Cricket Australia proposal, some states have already reduced their commitment to community cricket, potentially impacting the long-term future of the game. We believe that any decision to reduce the agreed state distributions should be delayed until there is a better understanding of whether international cricket will be played next season.”
Germon and Knox added that “Cricket NSW is encouraged that the prospect of India touring in the upcoming season has increased over the past month”.
The tour is worth $300 million to CA, inflated by television rights income from Sony in India, and there is more confidence about it going ahead after Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer Arun Dhumal told the Herald this month Virat Kohli’s team were ready to quarantine for a fortnight upon arriving in Australia.
The distribution cuts have already led to job losses around the country, with Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia accepting them and Western Australia signing up on the condition all the others do. The most significant have been at Cricket Victoria, where 36 per cent of full-timers have been shown the door. There is more pain coming, with staff in Queensland being tapped on the shoulder this week and the WACA board meeting on Tuesday about a restructure.
A CA spokeswoman said on Tuesday night: “Six of the eight states and territories have committed to support an Australian cricket response to COVID-19 as proposed by CA. We are working closely with the remaining two states and we are hopeful of a resolution. We continue to take necessary steps to ensure cricket is well placed for the future including a return to the game as soon as possible.”
Roberts will, on Wednesday, again address his staff, most of whom have been stood down on 20 per cent pay and are awaiting redundancies as well.
CNSW has signalled an intention to use its reserves if required to try and avoid a similar outcome.
“We would like to reassure you that Cricket NSW is absolutely committed to investing in the game of cricket at all levels to ensure future generations experience the joy of playing Australia’s national sport,” Germon and Knox said in their email.
CA will continue talks with the Australian Cricketers Association, meanwhile, about its proposal to reduce domestic competitions this summer to cut costs.
While the full WBBL may go ahead, most likely all in Sydney and Melbourne, sources say the Women’s National Cricket League is facing a possible reduction from eight to six rounds this summer after being extended last year. That looms as a potential blow before the 50-overs World Cup scheduled for New Zealand in February and March.
Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.