Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) has announced it is laying off most of its administrative staff and will run a skeleton operation until at least midyear due to COVID-19's impact on the game.
The governing body informed the majority of staffers on Thursday that from April 27 they would have to remain home on reduced pay, reportedly 20 percent of their regular salary, until June 30 at the earliest.
With international and domestic cricket postponed indefinitely because of the virus, CA chief executive Kevin Roberts said the game had to cut costs. "The impacts on the sports industry of the coronavirus pandemic are bigger than any one sport," he said in a statement.
"Cricket Australia like all sporting bodies -- is planning for a return to training/play, although no one is certain when this will be possible at this stage, and many scenarios are being considered." Roberts said he hoped the situation regarding resumption of play would be clearer by June 30.
Cricket Australia's website reported there were 'ongoing discussions' between CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association about potential financial implications for players. CA also said it was optimistic Australia's 2020-21 home schedule, which includes the T20 World Cup and a blockbuster Test series against India, would proceed even if stadiums were empty.
Australian officials are reportedly so keen for the India series to go ahead that they are considering basing Virat Kohli's men at a new luxury hotel with training facilities while they undergo mandatory quarantine. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the South Australian Cricket Association had offered to house India at the Oval Hotel, which is currently under construction at the Adelaide Oval.
Basing the team at the hotel, which is due to open in September, would allow the players to train at top-class facilities during a 14-day quarantine period. The Herald estimated television revenue from the India series was worth Aus$300 million (US$190 million)for Cricket Australia.