Australia asks for T20 World Cup to be postponed
CRICKET Australia has asked the ICC to postpone the T20 World Cup it was scheduled to host in October-November this year.
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings wants instead to host the event in late 2021 when a second tournament was due to be played in India.
A letter from Eddings was sent to the peak body's Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee on Thursday calling for the prestigious tournament to be shifted because of issues relating to the pandemic.
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This year's event, which was under enormous pressure, will almost certainly be replaced by the India Premier League and Australia is bidding to host the tournament 12 months later.
Australia does not want the hosting rights for this year's tournament to be shifted all the way back to 2022.
In the letter, leaked almost immediately to the Times of India, Eddings said, "It would be detrimental to cricket if the cancellation of the Australian event is replaced by awarding of the subsequent T20 World Cup in October-November 2022.
"Australia has thankfully managed to flatten the (COVID) curve, meaning there is greater certainty of being able to play in Australia in 2021 (which is key to maintaining member distribution). This would give India another year to resolve any COVID-related problems".
The leak caused chaos at the ICC and Thursday's board meeting was abandoned when members realised what had occurred.
"The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board met via teleconference today with all agenda items deferred until 10 June 2020 following a discussion, led by Chairman Shashank Manohar, around the issue of confidentiality," the ICC said in a statement.
"A number of Board members had raised their concerns over this issue recently and felt it required immediate attention to ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of Board matters in line with the highest standards of governance.
"There was unanimous agreement to immediately initiate an independent investigation led by the ICC's Ethics Officer and supported by global experts. The Board will be updated on this by the ICC CEO at its next meeting on 10 June 2020.
"The Board also requested the ICC management continue with their discussions with stakeholders in exploring various contingency options in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the COVID-19 virus."
The decision to investigate the leak and delay the meeting was also leaked immediately.
No fans, no WC, no certainty: CA paints bleak picture
The likely postponement of the Twenty20 World Cup will contribute to a $80-million hit to Cricket Australia's coffers this summer, chief executive Kevin Roberts says.
Roberts concedes there is a "very high risk" of the cup, which Australia is slated to host this October and November, being stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Roberts says CA stands to lose $20m from not hosting the cup as per schedule, with an added $50m blow from not having crowds attend games. In addition, CA will spend around $10m on biosecurity measures to ensure international teams can play in Australia this summer.
"The likelihood of significant crowds is very slim - ordinarily that would deliver well over $50m revenue to CA," Roberts said.
"The T20 World Cup is a big question and that's a factor of perhaps $20m ... we have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November but you would have to say there's a very high risk about the prospect of that happening.
"And it's likely that our biosecurity measures that we need to put in place to deliver the season will cost in the order of $10m."
While the T20 World Cup could be rescheduled to next year, CA has released its summer schedule highlighted by four Tests against India set to deliver some $300m in broadcast rights.
The schedule has India playing at four venues - the Gabba, Adelaide Oval, the SCG and MCG - but that could yet change.
"That (schedule) assumes that state borders are open to domestic travel," Roberts said.
"It may be that circumstances dictate that when the time comes maybe we can only use one or two venues, we really don't know any of that yet.
"There is a lot of variables based on whether we have four venues in four states or as little as one venue in one state.
"There's endless scenarios and possibilities ... we're very optimistic that we will be able to stage the Indian men's tour and the other inbound tours for the season.
"But we're realistic enough to know they will look very different to a normal summer.
"We have been forced to effectively plan for the worst and hope for the best."
Roberts said CA hierarchy were currently working through cost cuts to the governing body.
"We have made a commitment to significantly reduce the cost base of Cricket Australia," he said.
"Unfortunately that means that no area of the organisation will be untouched.
"It's premature to talk about the detail of those plans, that will come in the not too distant future."
India riches don't alter CA's dire financial outlook
Kevin Roberts has flagged a multi-million dollar bio-security bill as part of his continued justification for Cricket Australia's controversial coronavirus cuts, writes Ben Horne.
Last week the chief executive declared India was a "nine out of 10" chance of touring this summer, a statement which prompted critics to question why CA only a month ago had taken such drastic steps to stand down 80 per cent of staff and slash costs, for a worst-case scenario that had quickly evaporated.
However, Roberts hit back in a private briefing to Cricket Australia staff on Wednesday, where he claimed the saving of the $300 million Indian tour didn't necessarily fix all the game's financial anxieties.
An imminent cancellation or postponement of October's World Cup in Australia appears inevitable, after Roberts said government advice remained that international travel will be the last thing to return to Australia.
Roberts said cricket also remain doubtful about accommodating large-scale crowds for international and BBL cricket this summer, and told staff that potentially chartering and quarantining India in Australia shapes as a financially taxing exercise which backed up CA's decision to slash costs.
"There will be a lot to put in place around bio-security plans," said Roberts.
"To make that happen (India touring) is going to cost many, many millions of dollars to put bio-security plans in place.
"So however much things improve over the coming weeks, that's a cost cricket doesn't ordinarily have to bear.
"… it's been reported that with India likely to tour, there will be minimal impact on CA next season. It's not that simple.
"… (We're) far less confident to have any significant crowds. It's likely some people might be able to go to venues but we won't know that until closer to the time.
"Nothing has really changed with the advice we've been provided. The last thing that will return is international travel, second last will be mass gatherings.
"It's fantastic the prospect of India (touring), but (we) don't want anyone to think we're … not exposed to other economic risk."
Roberts maintains that CA has already taken a financial hit, pointing to the cancellation of ODIs against New Zealand in March and debtors not paying their bills or being forced to delay.
"The pain to date might not be the same as other organisations," Roberts said.
"But it's there and it's real."
It's understood some state associations have been spooked by CA telling them that if they didn't make the cuts it has, then it might end up trading insolvent.