With the economic destruction that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought on, the less wealthy cricket countries must now stand up and be counted. So says the former president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Monday, the Jamaican businessman said: “With the current COVID-19 pandemic wreaking financial havoc, the less wealthy cricket boards like West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will suffer more if they don’t stand up.”
Cameron said the boards must now form a united front and go to the International Cricket Council (ICC) with a revised plan for financial distribution to be more equitable.
He reminded that back in 2018, he presented a paper to the ICC termed the “Economics of Cricket” which did not sit well with the so-called “Big 3” – India, England and Australia.
Cameron said prior to 2001 the individual cricket boards use to share the revenue from bilateral series. The ICC then changed that which led to less wealthy cricket nations being affected. As it stands now, the host country gets all the revenues from bilateral tours.
The “Big 3” rakes in the best deals with television and of course gate receipts and hence a share in the revenue when the other countries tour there will be a great help.
“The gap between wealthier and less wealthy cricket nations is widening and will contribute to less wealthy nations being less competitive and there devaluing the international cricket product. The gap immediately expedites the flight of talent away from bilateral international cricket as the less wealthy cricket nations are disadvantaged in funding their professional domestic and national retainer contracts.
“Given the current situation with the COVID-19, the gap will widen further as the less wealthy cricket nations won’t be able to sustain investment in cricket and player development, infrastructure and administration,” said Cameron.
“I took this paper to the ICC in 2014 but of course it was struck down by the ‘Big 3’. I didn’t care who liked and didn’t like me at the ICC, I was fighting to save cricket in my own backyard as well as the other less wealthy cricket nations.
“The idea of sharing the revenue did not go down well with them but now the boards have to take it back to the ICC and see what happens now. It is going to be very difficult for others outside the ‘Big 3’ to survive this period.
“The only time cricket boards really make money is when they take part or host world events. However, the world events are now being held regularly amongst the ‘Big 3’. The next world event is the World T20 Tournament and this will be held in Australia in October if all is well in terms of controlling the pandemic.
The last ICC 50-over World Cup was held in England last year and the two World Cups prior to that were staged in Australia and India, respectively. The last World T20 was also held in India in 2016.