NSW says plans to invest in the game, won't cut jobs

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s most powerful cricket state New South Wales says it has “no intention” of cutting staff, despite the national board’s move to slash jobs in a bid to shore up finances hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Australia (CA) laid off 40 staff last week and has tried to secure agreement for 25% reductions in grants to member states as part of cost-cutting measures.

While several states have also cut staff, including South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, Cricket NSW Chairman John Knox saw no reason for his state to go down that path.

“We continue to invest significantly in the game of cricket,” Knox told a podcast on state broadcaster ABC.

“We have no intention to make any cuts at all in our head count.

“We’ve got nearly 90 people employed in delivering critical cricket services to the grass roots and we’re going to continue to invest hard and grow the game.”

NSW has declined to accept reductions in state grants, cuts that were led by the board’s former Chief Executive Kevin Roberts, who resigned last week after months of criticism over his leadership during the pandemic.

Roberts had said the board’s “proactive” cost-cutting was to protect the domestic game from potentially devastating future impacts of COVID-19 on revenue.

Knox said NSW had a rosier outlook for the game.

“We’ve deliberately made the decision that we think the summer of cricket looks great ahead of us and we’re going to continue to grow what we think is the greatest game in the country,” he added.

CA were criticised by the players’ union last month for not being transparent enough about its finances. Former Australia captain Ian Chappell doubted the board would be more forthcoming.

“Particularly when it comes to finances the board has always been a bit of a secret society so I’m not sure much is going to change there,” he told the ABC.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford