Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Counting the cost of the COVID-19 shutdown

Counting the cost of the COVID-19 shutdown

Ordinary members of the public have already begun to feel the pinch caused by the lockdowns that have become a fact of life the world over in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Cricket is not immune to such concerns with India and England desperately seeking solutions to the problem of cancelled series in the immediate future.

India have to consider the likelihood that the Indian Premier League will almost certainly be cancelled while England faces the prospect of an unthinkable summer without cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have asked their players to take a 25% pay-cut in response. A request which the player's union has thus far been unwilling to agree to at this stage.

As one of the more financially sound cricket boards, the ECB's declaration that a summer without any on-field action could cost them as much as £300 million is an eye-opener.

"As I have said, we can only estimate the total financial impact on the game, which will not be clear for some time, but by way of offering an indication of the potential scale of the loss to the game, losing an entire cricket season - which is not an outlandish scenario - will cost cricket in England and Wales well in excess of £300m," Harrison wrote in a letter to the Professional Cricketer's Association.

In South Africa, the impact on cricket has thus far been minimal but should the global crisis stretch into the latter stages of the year it would place Cricket South Africa in a real pickle.

CSA are already on the backfoot, encumbered by the expensive Mzansi Super League and only able to make money when facing one of the big three in bilateral competition.

Even if the CSA board had done a near-perfect job of running the game in South Africa, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdowns and travel bans would be a kick in the teeth.

Without diving into the nitty-gritty, it is almost universally acknowledged that CSA have not delivered boardroom perfection and they are not alone.

Australia, England and India enjoy the best financial standings in the game and effectively prop up the remaining members of cricket's elite, either through ICC support or by engaging in bilateral series against the small fry.

If the big three take heavy losses and the T20 World Cup has to be postponed the likes of South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the West Indies and the rest will take a big hit and global cricket could very quickly find itself on the ropes.

It is clear that the financial well-being of professional sport is dependent upon those sports being played in one form or another, but when getting back on the field is against the interests of humanity as a whole, administrators are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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