Yorkshire CCC staff and players agree to pay cuts
Yorkshire say they have been forced to cut player and staff wages to guarantee the club’s survival in the face of potential multi-million pound losses due to the pandemic.
Chief executive Mark Arthur said the “drastic steps” were “an absolute necessity” and that the crisis could cost Yorkshire “a significant seven-figure sum”.
All players and staff – 77 employees – will have their pay cut by up to 20 per cent from June 1 on a sliding scale based on earnings.
The majority of employees –including all players and coaches apart from director of cricket Martyn Moxon – remain on furlough amid serious doubts as to whether any county cricket can go ahead this year.
“My job is to make sure that we still have a Yorkshire County Cricket Club this time next year,” Arthur said.
“That’s why we’ve taken this move to ask all players and members of staff to take salary deductions of up to 20 per cent, because it is an absolute necessity for the business and we want to stay in business.
“The only little bit of income we’ve got at the moment is for the online shop, and we’re very grateful to our members and supporters who have put their hands into their pockets and purchased items from the shop, but that is the only income we’ve got.
“We’ve still got day-to-day costs, we’re still maintaining cricket grounds, and whilst we’ve battened down the hatches as best we can, we are still losing money on a day-to-day basis.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board has estimated that a blank summer could cost the sport around £380m.
Although hopes are high that international cricket will still be possible behind closed doors, with plans actively under way for an early-July start to help mitigate such crippling losses and fulfil broadcast commitments, all counties face substantial shortfalls and a desperately uncertain landscape, with no guarantee even that the 2021 season will not be affected.
“I believe that we can get through 2020 with support from everybody – our players, staff, members, supporters, stakeholders, partners, and so on, but if we don’t get rid of this pandemic in the early part of the autumn and winter, then that’s clearly going to put next summer into serious doubt too,” added Arthur.
“There’s no way that you can put tickets on sale for international games unless you genuinely believe that you’re going to get them going, and in our case we’ve got a Test against India next year and also a T20 international against Pakistan.
“You can’t put things on sale when people realistically think that they’re never going to happen. If we don’t get the 2021 cricket season under way, then we’re in an awful lot of trouble.”
Yorkshire’s frustration is compounded by the fact that it was less than three months ago that they announced a club record profit of £6.5m for 2019, smashing the previous club record of £2.3m in 2009.
Indeed, it is a measure of the extent of the crisis that even with last year’s outstanding financial performance, which came on the back of a thrilling Headingley Ashes Test match and four World Cup fixtures, that the club is still having to cut pay and/or furlough staff in an effort to safeguard its future.
“The incredible irony is that the finances of the club have not been very far away from the lips of Yorkshire folk for the last 20 years,” said Arthur.
“So you make a quantum leap last year, pay back a significant amount of debt, stabilise the operation, and then suddenly you get hit by this; it can be quite debilitating.
“But by taking the pre-emptive action that we have taken, we will get through this, but it needs everybody to support what we’re doing so that we can all get through it together.
“We’re certainly very grateful for the level of support that we’ve had so far.”
Arthur has been heartened by what he described as the willingness of Yorkshire’s employees to pull together for the common good.
It is a close-knit team at Headingley, on-and-off the field, and he said that staff are mindful of the bigger picture.
The salary reductions will see those staff who are earning over £50,000 taking the biggest hit of 20 per cent.
Only the club’s senior management team, plus a handful of finance/office staff and some groundstaff are presently working, while the players will remain furloughed until such time as county cricket gets the green light, with the government having extended its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme into October.
“The reaction of our staff and players has been fantastic,” said Arthur.
“Although these are unprecedented times, as a collective we are doing everything that we can to steer Yorkshire cricket through these uncharted waters.
“Our focus as custodians of this great club is to ensure that we guide it through such challenges, and we acknowledge the sacrifices that are required to achieve this.
“I would also like to thank our members for their patience and considerable understanding.”