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WANTS RETHINK: CWI CEO Johnny Grave

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave is hoping that the current Covid-19 crisis will lead to a more equitable distribution of revenue in world cricket.

The regional board is currently grappling with cash flow problems that have affected the timely payment of its international men’s and women’s players, franchise cricketers and administrative staff, while the coronavirus pandemic has also caused uncertainty over the West Indies men’s team’s scheduled tour of England and already forced the cancellation of visits to the Caribbean by the South African women’s and “A” teams.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is also facing heavy financial losses if cricket in the UK cannot be played this summer.

And speaking on the Mason and Guest radio programme in Barbados yesterday, Grave said that world cricket now had to adopt a more unified approach.

“Dealing with these things as individual nations is really a fruitless exercise and the power comes from the collective,” he said. “My hope is that full members are now understanding...that we are in this together.”

On the weekend, parts of an audit report commissioned by the current CWI administration headed by Ricky Skerritt were revealed through the media by former West Indies player Michael Holding and then the ESPN cricinfo website. In part, the report indicated there would be a shortfall of about US$10 million in revenue over the next eight years from the US$128 million CWI was originally expected to receive from the ICC.

But in speaking about the CWI’s future revenue-earning prospects, Grave said: “We are trying to create a broadcast environment where we get much more smooth revenues on an annual basis, not necessarily linked to exactly who’s touring. All those things will help to manage cash flow in a better way.”

He added: ”We’ve lobbied now for a good few years around the economic model, around the fact that the revenue sharing as it currently is, isn’t really sharing; it’s stacked in favour of the nations that have the biggest market and they already have a huge competitive financial advantage from that perspective anyway.

“One of the things that I hope comes out of this whole reset of world cricket is that we could talk about having a more equitable model...We continue to ask for a pooling of revenues and a greater sharing of those revenues amongst the nations because we believe it’s key for everyone’s sustainability.”

On the matter of the match fees owed to players, Grave said payments would be made this week to the international men and women.

“As of the start of this week, we were able to email and contact the international women’s players and confirm that their T20 World Cup match fees will be paid in full this week. We’d already paid the prizemoney back in March.

“We’ve also confirmed to the men’s international players that their outstanding match fees from both the Ireland series and Sri Lanka series will be paid this week as well,” he said.

But the CEO added, “Unfortunately, we’re not yet in a position to do that with the franchise players. We’re working hard to try and resolve that...I hope to do so sooner rather than later.”

And asked for an update on the tour of England, Grave said: “We had a call with the ECB on Monday and I think it’s fair to say they are getting increasingly confident they’ve got a robust plan for what’s now being referred to as bio-secure cricket behind closed doors. Our medical team are getting comfortable with those plans. The logistics are starting to be developed. We have calls planned for the back-end of this week. We’re getting closer to being in a position to receive what would be a definitive plan by the ECB that’s been approved by the UK Government for us to consider.”

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