For the first time since World War II, the sport played all-year round, cricket, has been halted due to the current global pandemic that have already infected over a million people worldwide and reached nearly 75,00 death toll at the time of writing. Clubs across the globe were just getting ready for the new season, but now they are preparing for the loss as the season is in jeopardy.
In England, the pandemic has left 7,000 amateur cricket clubs facing serious financial loss. One example is the Torrisholme Cricket Club, on the border of Lancashire and Cumbria, shutting down the club’s finances at a time of year when club expenses are at their peak. “It’s the first really big gathering of the juniors in particular and it’s a night when we take anything between £2,000 to £3,000 in subscriptions,” says club president, Mark Dinkall. “That kind of money is crucial in the early part of the season.
A news portal also reports about the Sparsholt Cricket Club, located on the outskirts of Winchester in Hampshire, has been playing cricket at its Lock’s Lane ground every summer since the 1930s. With cricket closing its pitches for the games, the club’s chairman Andy Worth said that “there will be a huge hit for us financially as there will for every club in the country if this continues”.
The head of the National Cricket Conference (NCC), Simon Prodger said, “The biggest concern for the club game right here and right now is the management of cash flow and the consequences of having zero income while having fixed overheads”. He added that “balls alone at this time of year cost cricket clubs over £4m.”
To relive the financial weight of the situation, some clubs, such as Bexley CC in Kent, have asked members to pay a social membership fee of £35 to ensure that some cash is coming in according to reports. “In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at four to six weeks to get anything that is remotely playable,” says Tony Leach, Kent county pitch advisor.
Meanwhile, in the nation where the largest cash-rich cricket event, India, the Indian Premier League (IPL) season sits in limbo. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly said, “Nothing has been decided yet. There is no clarity” following the nationwide lockdown. “Things remain as it was on (March 14), when we decided to postpone the IPL (to April 15).
This leaves BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and the rest of the board members with a huge task to ease the financial burden of both the players and the league. Right now, BCCI is looking at an alternate window as chances of a shortened IPL in May. Reports also claim that the board are aiming for the window of October-November to organize the IPL.
A senior IPL official told a news portal says, “The system of IPL payments is that 15% is paid a week before the tournament starts. 65% more is paid during the tournament. The remaining 20% is paid within a stipulated time after the tournament ends”. He also said that the BCCI has their guidelines and “obviously, no player will be paid as of now”.
The Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA) President Ashok Malhotra also claimed that cancelling the season is a huge blow to the economy that domestic cricketers may have to accept the pay cuts with huge amount of losses. However, the BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal revealed that pay cuts haven’t been a part of discussion as yet. It’s very difficult to do calculations and estimate losses,” he said.
Another franchise official told that the salaries of the players are not insured for a pandemic. “We won’t get any money from insurance company as pandemic is not covered in the clause. Each franchise has salary overheads ranging between Rs 75 to 85 crore.” the official said. How can we pay if there’s no action,” he asked.
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