CWI exec says, salary cuts now a possibility

Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) chief executive officer Johnny Grave
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Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) chief executive officer Johnny Grave has indicated that salary cuts for the executive, players and officials have not been ruled out, with revenue generation hampered as the COVID-19 crisis drags on.

Although stressing that it was too early to say what decisions would be taken in that regard, Grave said the lack of play as a result of the spread of COVID-19 across the globe has put CWI in a particularly difficult financial situation and a committee has been set up to advise on the way forward.

“We’re in unprecedented times and everyone is in difficult situations and everyone is doing their best to protect what cash they have and keep their staff and their people paid,” he said on the Mason and Guest radio programme on Tuesday night.

“It’s very difficult to say with any degree of certainty what action we may take, but clearly the priority for us at the moment is, first and foremost, the health and safety of all our players and staff and clearly their wider communities and the countries of the Caribbean. We need to act very responsibly and in line with the government and medical advice.

“Secondly, our major priority is to try and keep all our people paid at full pay for as long as we can, but clearly there will come a point in time where that becomes not a possibility,” Grave added.

Earlier this month, CWI president Ricky Skerritt said there were no immediate plans to slash players’ retainer contracts, even as COVID-19 continues to wreck playing schedules across the globe.

The CEO acknowledged that players were already taking a financial hit, with the domestic first-class championship curtailed and the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which many West Indies players signed lucrative contracts, now suspended indefinitely.

And he said it could get worse, as there was a possibility there would be no more cricket played for the rest of the year.

In that scenario, Grave said, “there will have to be significant reductions of all of our costs and salaries, and our players, staff and officials are clearly all part of that”.

“The board of directors, at the last teleconference on the 2nd of April, established a finance review and strategy committee and they’re due to meet also on Thursday [today] for the first time, and we’ve got another board teleconference at the end of this month.

“It’s such a dynamic situation. We, like many businesses, are running all sorts of different scenarios and we’ve now got a specific committee that has been set up to assist management in assessing all those different scenarios, and obviously the financial impact and decisions we will ultimately take to the Board at the right time to get their approval on whatever direction we need to take,” he added.

With no cricket being played, boards across the world are staring at huge losses.

England’s cricketers have opted to give up 20 per cent of their retainers for the next three months; while Australia’s crickets are set to be asked to take a 25 per cent pay cut.

Australia are scheduled to host the T20 World Cup, in which West Indies are defending champions, but the fate of the tournament scheduled for October is still not clear because of the ongoing pandemic.

West Indies’ three-Test tour of England scheduled for June 4-25 is also up in the air with both the Caribbean and the United Kingdom on lockdown.

While West Indies was expected to host New Zealand in July and South Africa in August, both tours are also now under the microscope because of the global shutdown of sports.

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