BCCI will be in financial trouble if there is no IPL, says treasurer

There are no pay cuts in BCCI yet but in case there is no IPL, there could be financial problems for the board and the state associations, says treasurer Arun Dhumal.

From left: BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Sourav Ganguly and treasurer Arun Dhumal.   -  FILE PHOTO/ VIVEK BENDRE

The suspension of all cricketing action because of the COVID-19 pandemic has created problems aplenty for the administrators of the game.

There is no clarity on the future of big-ticket tournaments like the T20 World Cup, Asia Cup, the Indian Premier League and scheduled bilateral meets. The cancellation or prolonged postponement of matches will certainly have an impact on the finances of cricket boards.

While Cricket Australia is in deep financial crisis, the England and Wales Cricket Board is also fearing heavy financial loss this season.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Dhumal admits that the Indian Board, too, will “also be in a difficult position” if cricket does not resume fast. “This is definitely a big blow for world cricket. All the boards are feeling the heat. Once the pandemic is over, everybody needs to sit across the drawing board once again and re-draw their strategies, as to how they can cope with the situation,” he said.

In a chat with Sportstar on Friday, Dhumal spoke on a range of issues…

At a time when Cricket Australia finds itself in a tough financial situation, how secured is the BCCI?

The BCCI will also be in a difficult position in case cricket does not resume soon, especially the IPL. In that case, the BCCI will also have to face a lot of financial hardships. IPL is one of the major revenue-generating tournaments.

What if it doesn’t happen? Is there a back-up plan?

There is nothing much we can do. We will just have to wait for cricket to resume. 

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How is the BCCI managing allocation of funds to the state bodies?

It would definitely have a spiraling effect. It is not rocket science to understand. If the BCCI is in problem, the state associations will also be facing it. We can only distribute something to the associations when (funds) are coming to the BCCI. But if there is nothing coming BCCI’s way, what’s there for the board to distribute to the cricket associations? So, it’s not only a problem for the board, but would also (have implications) for the state associations.
In such a scenario, how much of a challenge will it be for the state bodies to get the ball rolling?

It’s as challenging as for any other organisation, which is required to work without any finances to take care of their assets, machinery and equipment. It will definitely be challenging for associations to take care of the stadiums they have, to upkeep the facilities and also to take care of the staff.

Is the BCCI mulling pay cuts for its staff and stakeholders?

Nothing as of now. That would be the last resort one would want to take. We don’t want to have pay cuts and hopefully, we can tide over the situation and there is no need for that. But that would depend on how long this situation continues and what’s the final outcome in terms of revenue generation.

Reports suggest that the England and Wales Cricket Board is looking at bio-secure venues to resume their international cricket commitments…

These are all speculative stories. There is nothing concrete that has come out so far. I can plan for anything as per my best capacity, but it has to take the holistic picture in mind. The government has to agree to that. We are not planning anything as of now because for us, the safety and health of our cricketers are paramount. Rest can wait.

As per the original calendar, 2020 was a busy year, with too many big-ticket events like the T20 World Cup, Asia Cup and other bilateral assignments. Do you feel that some of the tournaments might have to be shelved?

This is definitely a big blow for world cricket. All the boards are feeling the heat. Once the pandemic is over, everybody needs to sit across the drawing board and plan their strategies. The BCCI will definitely do the best possible to help world cricket at large. You can’t have just one or two teams winning all the tournaments. To have competitive cricket, all the teams have to fare well so that the game becomes interesting. Keeping that in mind, we will work shoulder-to-shoulder with every cricket board and help international cricket revive.

A lot of appointments — like the women’s selection panel — have been stalled. How do you see that?

In such a situation, it is something that you would not want to go ahead with now. Why would I make a decision now and increase my liability when there is no cricket in the foreseeable future? There are certain decisions which can be kept pending because there is no reason to take a call on that now. This is such a situation where you know decision-making wouldn’t make much of a difference because in the times of COVID-19, nobody is clear as to when cricket can resume. 

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