Australia

Australian players slam Cricket Australia’s forecast of tainted future due to coronavirus

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Cricket Australia has got trouble on its hands after the players slammed forecasts that the board is set to lose huge sums of money due to the ongoing Covid 19 crisis.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) send a message to the players hinting at a tainted future in terms of finances.

According to the ACA, Cricket Australia (CA) is expecting revenue to fall by 48 per cent, from $461 million to $239.7 million for 2020/21, with a further 20 per cent reduction in 2021/22, from $484 million to $385.5 million.

The players currently have a revenue-sharing arrangement with Cricket Australia in which they receive 27 per cent of all revenue — an agreement that was realised after a bitter pay dispute in 2017.

The association had asked Cricket Australia to open up its books more than a month ago after CA revealed it could lose hundreds of millions in revenue.

But the ABC understands that instead of sending its complete financial projections, CA sent the players association an email.

The ACA said it had little confidence in the forecasts because “they do not appear to be reasonable or consistent with an obligation of good faith”.

“From what the ACA has been able to determine so far, cricket is yet to suffer a significant adverse revenue event and the outlook for the game remains positive,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.

“If cricket does suffer an adverse financial event in the future, a reforecast can be provided at this time.” he added.

The association went on to say that the forecasts appeared strange with an assertion by Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts that the chances of India touring Australia later this year were “9 out of 10”.

That tour is expected to bring in $300 million, largely through television revenue.

Cricket Australia recently released a schedule for the summer that included the four Tests as well as one-day internationals and Twenty20s against India, plus the men’s T20 World Cup, the men’s and women’s Big Bash leagues, and women’s series against New Zealand and India.

Nicholson said the ACA would start a dispute resolution process with Cricket Australia, as stipulated in the agreement between the two bodies, in an attempt to give more clarity on Cricket Australia’s forecasting process.

“To not follow this process would be to risk further damage to cricket, the game we all love, and its otherwise-bright future,” Nicholson added.

The ABC has been told by multiple sources that Cricket Australia has lost goodwill among staff, the players and states since it announced it was facing financial pressure in April, in part caused by a share-market downturn and fears coronavirus would stop international tours.

It had war-gamed losing up to 75 per cent of revenue before stating publicly it had to save 25 per cent — a figure at odds with the projections sent to the players association.

In April, Cricket Australia stood down 200 staff on 20 per cent pay, many of whom could be sacked in July.

Cricket Australia also asked the states to take a 25 per cent cut in grants.

Since then, many states have cut costs and axed more than 100 jobs across the country, directly affecting grassroots cricket.

Cricket New South Wales is holding out, believing — like the players — that the revenue forecasts are not credible, given there have been no cancellations.

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