World Cup winner Chris Woakes admits that players will be next to feel that England’s cricket chiefs announced 62 job losses on Tuesday as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the Cricket Board (ECB) of England and Wales, said such measures would have been ‘unthinkable’ seven months ago, but that the global crisis had had a huge impact. Harrison said England’s cricket had already lost more than £ 100m ($ 129m), a figure that could rise to £ 200m next year if Covid-19 cuts out next season. Proposals to cut costs include a reduction in the staff budget by 20 percent – a move that amounts to the loss of 62 jobs.
The English all-rounder Woakes expressed condolences to those affected.
“It resonates with the players,” said Woakes, adding that the losses would have been even greater had it not been for planned tours of the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland.
In April, England’s centrally contracted players made a £ 500,000 donation to the ECB and selected charities, the equivalent of a 20 percent reduction in their rankings over three months.
Woakes, with a new round of central contracts scheduled for this month, said players may need to get a pay cut.
“In the current climate, and with contracts around the corner, I think you should just expect something at this point,” he said.
“As players you don’t sit here and say ‘we are exempt from it’.”
Although the schedule of 18 international men’s games scheduled for this season will be completed on Wednesday, the ECB has suffered heavy losses, with all games being played behind closed doors.
The ECB implemented wage cuts for staff in April, but the cuts were not enough to prevent job losses.
“The Covid-19 pandemic poses the greatest challenge of the modern era to cricket,” said Harrison.
“There is also great uncertainty about the future, and it is vital that we take more steps now to ensure the future financial sustainability of cricket in England and Wales.”
Harrison added that the ECB should become a “leaner and more flexible organization”, saying that savings would only be possible “by reducing our workforce.”
“These proposals include a 20 percent reduction in our workforce, which equates to the removal of 62 roles from our structure.”
The heads of the ECB had hoped to take advantage of the boost the game received from England’s home soil win at the World Cup last year, as well as a dramatic Ashes series.
“Seven months ago it was unthinkable to share a message like that,” Harrison said.
“Our ambition and energy are unchanged, but how we get there now should look significantly different from what we originally planned.”
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