Euro T20 Slam: Money For Nothing

The Cricket Ireland accounts up to December 31st 2019 were published in full online last week. A look through them showed a modest loss of €9797 on income of €10,624,514. The report notes “Cricket Ireland delivered a deficit of €9,797 for the year which is a significant improvement on 2018 in which we posted a deficit of €203,647.

Cricket Ireland fell victim to a Cyber-Crime incident in April-19 which impacted to the value of $175,000; A key broadcast partner went bankrupt 24 hours before the start of our international season which resulted in a loss of $275,000 in commercial rights income; and We experienced a lower than anticipated turnout to our major marquee match against England in May.

They received a grant of just over €6 million from ICC, while they also got over a million each from broadcasting income, sponsorship and the EuroT20 Slam. The latter was a real bonus given the fact that it didn’t actually go ahead, as was the case in 2020 too. While the merits of such an event can be debated, at least the organisers did (eventually) put their money where their mouth was.

The spending more than matched the income with salaries and wages totalling €4,261,480, of which the accounts noted that seven key management personnel received €878,383 (inc pension contributions).

One of the consequences of the Covid pandemic has been that no international games were hosted in Ireland during 2020, which while disastrous from a playing point of view, has saved the governing body a lot of money, as matches invariably cost Cricket Ireland money – unless playing India or England.

What is uncertain as we move towards 2021 is how the financial landscape will change. Will there be more money forthcoming from ICC or less? If there is little improvement in the health situation then income from all sources is going to come under severe pressure down the line. Uncertain times for all, not just for cricket.

  The full financial report

The Art Of Spin

It was interesting to note how the release of the men’s contracts were covered in the various media last week. Some highlighted the good news element of the fact that Curtis Campher, David Delany and Josh Little were awarded contracts for the first time, while at the other end of the spectrum most of the emphasis was on the loss of contracts for Boyd Rankin, Stuart Thompson and Tyrone Kane. The Belfast Telegraph went with “Contract axe to spell end of Rankin’s career”, which while harsh, certainly grabbed the attention.

While press releases can gently persuade media towards the path they wish them to follow, and savage cuts mean less scrutiny or analysis, some will always delve deeper to get what they feel is the real story.

The death knell for any publication or website is to become a sycophantic outlet. It’s always to get the full picture - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Women’s Contracts

Following the release of the men’s contracts last week, it was the turn of the women on Monday. Continuing the theme above to illustrate my point about spin, I’ll give you two different versions of the main point.

Headline 1 would go something like this: 19 Women awarded contracts in largest ever investment by Cricket Ireland in the game.

Headline 2 could read: Pay gap highlights growing chasm in Women’s cricket. The monetary value of the seven part-time contracts awarded are less than that received by the top men’s earner.

So depending on your agenda, you could spin the story whatever direction you wish. The reality is that while the investment by Cricket Ireland in the women’s game is the most that it’s ever been, it’s still light years away from that of the men’s game.

Warriors’ Woes

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for the Warriors with the news that their 2019 Player of the Year Graham Hume is leaving Coleraine after four seasons with the Bannsiders. He’s the latest to join the talent drain from the region, further strengthening the NCU area.

Over the years players of the calibre of Craig Young, Stuart Thompson, Graeme McCarter, Chris Dougherty, Ryan Hunter, Marcus Poskitt, Trevor Britton and Johnny Thompson have all piled their trade in the Northern Union. Boyd Rankin was also due to play in 2020 for Lisburn, but didn’t due to Covid and Irish commitments.

Traditionally the Warriors have only selected players from within the North-West, although they were able to still have Ireland contracted players within their ranks, no matter where they played. With Rankin and Thompson losing their central contracts, plus Hume’s departure, the cupboard is looking distinctly threadbare.

There has been a sign of the stance softening slightly, with Rush opening batsman Nathan McGuire playing this season, although it’s very much been the exception to the rule, with Welshman Will Smale having to play his club cricket with Coleraine this season.

There’s no doubt that it’s something of a crossroads for the Warriors who are falling further behind the dominant Lightning squad. Do they go back to the drawing board and start again with youth and a sprinkling of experienced campaigners, or go down the ‘franchise route’ and play whoever they can, no matter where they play their league cricket? Given that the focus is switching towards best versus best, it may be that the latter option is the only one available to Head Coach Ian McGregor.