Cricket West Indies has decided to temporarily slash salaries and funding across the entire regional cricket system by 50% starting July to deal with the “debilitating” impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left the board facing a major loss of income in the absence of regular cricketing activities.
According to a CWI statement, the board of directors have agreed to “a plan” where they can deliver “at least a minimum level of job protection” for the employees and the ones contracted throughout the region’s cricket community as they foresee a long-term impact of the crisis on their operations.
The measures, which have been recommended by a financial advisory committee formed by the board, also include a 50% cut in funding for territorial boards, territorial boards’ franchises and West Indies Players’ Association, as well as a 50% reduction in all retainers and allowances for directors and executive management. The board hopes that the measures, which all stakeholders were privy to, will only be in place for not more than three to six months.
“This pandemic is hurting every West Indian and this decision to cut staff and player incomes has been a very difficult one to make; one that will impact so many members of the cricketing family around the Caribbean,” CWI president Ricky Skerritt said. “This business continuity plan unfortunately requires all stakeholders to make a huge sacrifice, but I am confident that it won’t be long before CWI will be in a position to ensure that the sport we love can restart and be enjoyed once again by the thousands of cricket fans across the region and diaspora.”
In April, a severe cash crunch faced by CWI resulted in delayed payment of match fees of international and domestic players from earlier this calendar year, with Wayne Lewis, WIPA secretary, saying that the dues would be settled by the end of June. An audit into the financial problems affecting the board found a “massive hole” in its coffers. The report, compiled by external and independent auditors earlier this month, blamed historic factors for the situation.
“The effects of this pandemic have been distressing for everyone – the worst crisis of our lifetime – and at present, we cannot be certain when the situation will be rectified,” Johnny Grave, CWI chief executive, said. “We recognize that this will cause financial pain for all our staff, players, coaches and umpires across the Caribbean, but having kept everyone on full-pay since the outbreak in March we have no choice but to take decisive action from next month onwards.
“CWI’s greatest asset is our people and players and everyone sharing equally in the temporary reduction, we believe is the best way for us to ensure we get through this crisis and protect our organisation and all the jobs in the system. We will be reviewing the situation regularly with the hope that we can return to norm.”