Cricket Australia will retain strategic cash reserves and standing deals to take care of the nation’s largest sporting venues for next summer’s T20 World Cup ahead of an off-season that is expected to see winter sports devastated by efforts to combat global coronavirus spread.
Cricket Australia Postpones Sheffield Shield Final League:
In announcing that CA had decided to postpone the Sheffield Shield final and give the championship to the New South Wales table-topping side, while also suggesting that all community cricket be stopped and that staff be advised to operate from home until at least April 13, Chief Executive Kevin Roberts said that the governing body had progressed towards carrying out alternative scenarios. Those involve the possibility of long-term sporting shutdowns, which could even extend beyond India’s visit to next season.
“We’re working through scenario plans around that now,” Roberts said of longer-term shutdowns. “We’re in uncertain times, and it’s difficult to project precisely what will transpire over the next number of months. But we will be working through with advice from experts, externally as to what are the various scenarios that are plausible, how likely are they, and how would we plan to deal with each of them.
At the same time, Roberts suggested that any joint efforts with the likes of the Australian Football League (AFL) and the National Rugby League (NRL) will have their limits as seen in recent attempts to help rural communities recover from the devastating bushfire season in the summer. In particular, Roberts ruled out any talk of pooling cash funds kept for contingency support by Australia’s major sports, with a considerable difference in some situations as to how they are capable of dealing with no daily fixtures in the coming weeks and months.
The NRL is in especially bleak territory, having liquidated its own “growth fund” of A$ 54 million in 2016 to deal with short-term cash flow problems and support the development of its digital arm, and urgently appealing for government assistance from its chairman, Peter V’Landys. The AFL-thought to have reserves in the area of A$ 65 million-is much better off but faces the possibility of tough times for the league and all clubs after announcing the season’s pre-emptive reduction to 17 daily rounds with an unknown starting date.
“The discussions at an industry level for sport, what we have in common is that engagement with communities and the way that sport can bring communities together and inspire them like very few other things in life,” Roberts said. “The financial circumstances of each sport are matters for each sport, in saying that we’ll support the winter sports wherever we can, but I wouldn’t envisage that extends to a common financial pool if you like, given that the circumstances of each sport financially are their business.”
As for the AFL floating the prospect of extending its season to December this year in case of a severely delayed launch, Roberts said that CA and the ICC will keep on to their contracts the likes of state governments and venue operators to host the men’s T20 World Cup in October and November, culminating in the MCG final on November 15.
Although the Australian Cricketers Association has already announced that it plans to reject any health-related restrictions on its players traveling to India for the IPL as of April 15, Roberts said, that review of overseas travel and other future assignments, including the Bangladesh and England national team tours in June and July, had to take place if and when policy and health advice were revised.