June 17, 2020 / 6:36 AM / 20 days ago

Cricket: Australia board cuts 40 staff in restructure

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cricket Australia will cut 40 staff and slash executive pay as part of restructuring efforts to shore up finances hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The cost-cutting measures, which also include the suspension of international tours for lower-tier and junior teams, will save the board up to A$40 million ($27.60 million) a year and “partly mitigate” the impact of COVID-19 on revenue, CA said on Wednesday.

CA said in a statement it would ensure elite men’s and women’s teams were “appropriately and prudently resourced” but chairman Earl Eddings declined to clarify whether the nation’s high performance staff and programmes would be unaffected.

“We’ve made cuts across the organisation but I wouldn’t want to personalise who’s going and who’s not,” Eddings told reporters on a video call.

Men’s and women’s domestic competitions, including the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash Twenty20 league, will remain in their current formats but international tours for the second tier Australia A side and representative junior teams will be “paused” over the next 12 months.

CA will also look to give member state associations “greater autonomy” over player development, though Eddings offered few details as to how the states would manage that after having laid off dozens of staff in recent months.

The restructuring details come a day after the board announced Kevin Roberts had resigned as chief executive, after months of criticism over his handling of the virus shutdown.

CA had already furloughed about 80% of its workforce and cut staff pay in April.

CA has been under fire from the players union, which earlier this month rejected the board’s forecast of a 48% plunge in the 2020 revenue that underpins player payments.

Eddings was “cautiously optimistic” those forecasts could be adjusted with an improved outlook for the domestic game amid low COVID-19 infection rates in Australia.

($1 = 1.4491 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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