In these unprecedented times, the Board of Cricket Scotland is regularly assessing the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis on the organisation and, more widely, on cricket in Scotland generally. While sport is not, at the moment, significant in relation to the critical public health issues and the sacrifices being made by all health personnel and other key services during this crisis, it is worthy of note that the current pause in activity will have a major impact, both operationally and financially, across all sports worldwide.
The Board has been looking closely at what can be done to support cricket clubs in Scotland, the bedrock of the sport, to come through the crisis. Those clubs will be important contributors to the restoration of the wellbeing of the nation when life returns to normal.
A survey of our Clubs has been carried out to understand better the potential impact of the crisis upon their viability until the sport resumes. That information will be used to inform sportscotland and the Scottish Government in their work to try and support Clubs across all sports. It will also enable Cricket Scotland to assess what support it can provide including advising Clubs on where they might seek funding to ensure they can survive the crisis. We have also produced advice for Clubs on such issues as grounds maintenance at this time to prepare pitches for cricket later in the year.
There is a special page on our website (link below) pulling together coronavirus notices and advice which we believe will helpful to our clubs, including links to information on various sources of financial relief and support. We will update this page as quickly as we can as other forms of support hopefully are announced. We recommend our Clubs and stakeholders visit the webpage regularly to catch updates in what is a rapidly evolving situation.
As well as looking at how the organisation can help its Clubs, the Board has been assessing the position of Cricket Scotland itself. There are clearly huge unknowns and uncertainties in any forecast at present but, based on early information, the Board already expects that Cricket Scotland itself will lose at least £250,000 in net revenue against budget this year. There are other revenue streams whose certainty is unknown even if sport restarts later in the summer. If the crisis continues much into the second half of this year then the loss in net revenue could be significantly worse.
While the shut down in cricket in Scotland (currently until 1st June 2020 but to be reviewed in light of further Government advice expected around 7th May 2020) means that Cricket Scotland activities, and thus some costs, are being minimised. Those cost savings do not anything like match the loss in revenue.
We, like all sports governing bodies in Scotland, are very fortunate that sportscotland and the Scottish Government continue to support us. Funding from sportscotland was approximately 20% of the 2019 revenues of Cricket Scotland.
The finances of Cricket Scotland have been prudently managed to build up suitable reserves in case of a “rainy day”. However, in the face of the unprecedented magnitude of the crisis now facing us all, those reserves would be very rapidly exhausted unless action is taken now.
Accordingly, and as announced in the statement on 3rd April 2020, Cricket Scotland has taken the very difficult decision to furlough most of its playing, coaching, development and administrative colleagues with effect from 1st April 2020 and apply to the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. To ensure those colleagues do not suffer financially, Cricket Scotland will top up their salaries to 100%. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation closely as matters develop.
This decision has been made to give the organisation the best chance of enabling and supporting the recovery of cricket across Scotland as quickly as possible once the crisis is over. Sport will have a major role to play in restoring the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing at that time.
Cricket Scotland will continue to keep its Clubs and stakeholders informed with further statements as the situation develops.
In the meantime, all of cricket in Scotland wishes our health services and other key personnel the very best and thanks them for their incredible efforts on behalf of all of us.
Cricket Scotland also today issued a press release, which explained CS will wait until the 7th May (when further UK Government advice on lockdown and possible exit strategy is expected) before making any further decision on the future of the domestic cricket season in Scotland.