Cricket Australia chief Roberts resigns amid leadership criticism

Roberts, whose resignation is effective immediately, would be replaced by interim CEO Nick Hockley, the chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Kevin Roberts said earlier this month the domestic game stood to lose A$80 million ($54.55 million) due to COVID-19.   -  Getty Images

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed on Tuesday that chief executive Kevin Roberts has resigned following months of criticism over his leadership during the coronavirus shutdown.

CA Chairman Earl Eddings told reporters in a video call that Roberts, whose resignation is effective immediately, would be replaced by interim CEO Nick Hockley, the chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Sportstar understands that Hockley will continue his role as the CEO of the tournament's organising committee.

READ | T20 World Cup in 2020 'unrealistic': Cricket Australia chairman

Eddings informed CA staff of the decision earlier in the day, saying the board needed a “circuit-breaker” to move on from the disruptions that have engulfed the organisation over the past few months.

“Kevin agrees now is the right time for a change of leadership,” Eddings told reporters.

Roberts had been under fire since a shock decision to furlough about 80% of staff at head office in April and a warning that the game was in financial peril.

He said the cuts were to “proactively” manage the impact of COVID-19 despite the shutdown coming at the end of the season and exerting minimal impact on scheduling.

Roberts attempted to push through further cost-cutting programs but state associations that nominate members to CA's executive board pushed back against the governing body's proposed reductions to grants.

Players were also upset by proposals to reduce domestic scheduling and were sceptical about CA's bleak forward estimates of revenue projections that underpin their pay.

CA's decision to snub Perth as a venue for one of the four test matches in the lucrative India tour in the home summer also angered Western Australia's state association.

Roberts said earlier this month the domestic game stood to lose A$80 million ($54.55 million) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with fans barred from stadiums and the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October likely to be postponed.

However, with India's tour for December all but confirmed and spectators expected to return to stadiums from next month as COVID-19 infections dwindle, some media pundits have said Roberts exaggerated the financial strain.

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