Cricket Ireland has become the latest sports body to introduce pay cuts for employees in an attempt to offset some of the financial losses incurred by the coronavirus pandemic, but they will not apply to their contracted players.
CEO Warren Deutrom has also suggested that home series against New Zealand and Pakistan, due to be played in June and July, are at high-risk of being postponed and warned that the long-term consequences of the current crisis could be even more challenging that anything being experienced now.
Starting this month all non-playing staff will have their salaries reduced by 20% for the months of April and May. Deutrom will receive another 5% on top and for the remainder of the calendar year, all in a bid to preserve jobs long-term and ensure the organisation is fit and ready to resume full operations down the line.
Staff will also be asked to take some mandatory leave between now and the start of June while employees in the North are to be furloughed until the same time in line with the UK government's job retention scheme.
Their contracted players will not be asked to take cuts for now in recognition of the fact that match fees have already been forfeited with the loss of the the tour to Zimbabwe this month and the series against Bangladesh which had been planned for May.
Deutrom stated that “to ask them to take a further cut to their base remuneration – with no guarantee that all cricket might be rescheduled – would be unreasonable.” The hope is that the body is in a healthy enough state to hit the ground running when sport resumes.
Cricket Ireland is taking a “pragmatic” approach to the international calendar and, while assuming a wait-and-see stance for now, there is an acceptance that the series against New Zealand and Pakistan are in serious peril now too.
Obtaining visas for visiting teams and their support staff may not be possible as the Department of Foreign Affairs and the UK Foreign Office are not processing visa applications for now. Some teams may not even be able to travel due to government advice back home.
New Zealand and Pakistan are both due to visit multiple countries on their respective tours, thereby adding further to potential complications, and that is before the question is addressed as to how games are organised if there are ongoing restrictions around large gatherings.
“Irish cricket also faces some challenges stemming from the fact that we have no permanent stadium and rely heavily upon temporary infrastructure at our matches,” Deutrom explained.
“Not only does this extend our lead-times for series preparation, but also - at this time of crisis – we are aware that there is a shortage of temporary or portable infrastructure on the market as most is understandably in use by the HSE and HSCNI.”
Ireland's women's team has also had its plans torn up. They were due to play a tournament in Thailand this month and news is expected shortly on the fate of their schedule 50-over World Cup qualifier due to start in July.