Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic will force the organisation to cut 62 jobs, with the overall financial impact likely to rise to £200m (€218m/$258m) if further disruption is caused to the calendar.
In a statement released yesterday (Tuesday), Harrison (pictured) revealed that the game has already lost more than £100m due to the pandemic, which has left cricket facing its “most significant challenge of the modern era”.
The ECB was forced to furlough staff and issue pay cuts at the start of the pandemic and Harrison stated that he was “very proud” of the sacrifices made by his colleagues across the organisation.
“It is now an irrefutable fact however, that the impact of this pandemic is significant and will be long-lasting,” Harrison added. “There is also deep uncertainty about the future, and it is vital we take more steps now to ensure the future financial sustainability of cricket in England and Wales.”
Harrison stated that a thorough review of the ECB’s structures and budgets has taken place in recent weeks to allow the body to reduce central costs without “compromising on our ambitions”.
Proposals outlined by Harrison include a 20-per-cent reduction in the ECB’s workforce budget, which equates to the removal of 62 roles. The positions are largely made up of existing headcount and a small number of vacant roles.
The ECB is also proposing further cost savings by changing a number of current posts into flexible working roles, with a collective consultation to begin imminently.
“I am extremely proud of the work everyone at the ECB and the wider county, county board and club network has done this summer,” said Harrison.
“In the most trying of circumstances, with uncertainty the only guarantee, we have come together to deliver a compelling summer of cricket at all levels. When the pressure has been on, our sport has come together and shown cricket in its best light.
“Over the coming weeks we will be supporting our colleagues affected by these proposals as we seek to safeguard the future of our sport. We will share more news as this process progresses.”
In June, the ECB revealed record turnover of £228m for the 2019-20 financial year but acknowledged that the results were “bittersweet” amid the ongoing impact of Covid-19. The turnover figure was boosted by last year’s Cricket World Cup in England and Wales and the Ashes series against Australia.
At the time, the ECB maintained that it would have sufficient cash to continue operating even if the entire 2020 season ended up being cancelled. Harrison had previously told the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that the body risked losing up to £380m if the season was cancelled.
Cricket in England has been able to resume but all matches, barring a handful of pilot events, are being held behind closed doors. The ECB was forced to postpone the inaugural edition of The Hundred, its new limited-overs competition, until the summer of 2021.