Dear Cricket Community,
I hope that you, your loved ones, cricket clubs and teammates are doing well in what has been a challenging period for all Australians.
Cricket ACT, like all sporting codes, have felt the impact of COVID-19. Despite this, Cricket ACT remain resolved in our overarching goal of uniting and inspiring our community through cricket. The purpose of this communique is to provide you with an update on how we are planning to support the cricket community throughout the ACT and greater region as we return to cricket. I hope that this information will allow you to begin planning for the upcoming 2020/21 season with greater certainty, noting that the current sporting environment is dynamic and subject to change in the event of a second phase of COVID-19 and further government restrictions.
CACT Structural Changes
Like most States and Territories across Australian Cricket, Cricket ACT have accepted a 25% cut to Cricket Australia funding for Financial Year 2021. This has forced Cricket ACT to make necessary structural changes and cost outs to ensure the financial health of the Association over the next 12 months and beyond. At this stage, sadly three roles across the organisation have been made redundant – one role from each of the Curation, High Performance and Competitions departments. Additionally, other roles have been shifted to a part-time capacity.
Whilst not finalised until Cricket Australia determine their final budgets, there are several national programs and competitions that are likely to be ‘paused’ for this season in which Cricket ACT participated last summer. These include the National Premier Cricket T20 Championships, the Australian Country Championships and the Under 17s Male National Championships. Cricket ACT are in regular discussions with Cricket Australia and the States surrounding these programs and the potential for some national activities to proceed but in a different capacity to the 2019/20 summer. I am hopeful this will be finalised, announced and communicated with our networks in a matter of weeks.
Local and Community Cricket
To determine Cricket ACT’s cost out plan, the Board and Senior Management decided on the following principles to assess where cuts would be made to ensure that Cricket ACT remain well positioned to deliver on our Strategic Plan. The principles are based on the prioritisation of:
1. Local and community cricket
2. ACT based pathway and high-performance programs
3. Activities of a commercial nature or those that drive positive cash flow
4. Reducing costs from non-critical, non-cricket activities
Using the above principles as the cornerstone of our decision making, we are becoming increasingly confident that the local cricket season will proceed within similar timeframes and structures to the 2019/20 season. Of course, some necessary adjustments will be implemented to ensure the safety and health of our members, match officials, volunteers and fans.
Investment in the ACT Pathway
Over the coming weeks, Cricket ACT will be proudly announcing a significant partnership with a local business that will allow us to further invigorate our male and female pathway programs. The outcome will be a new male and female franchise competition played throughout the summer as well as an extensive training program delivered by Cricket ACT prior to and between these matches. More information on this partnership will be released in the coming weeks.
Winter and Summer Sports Collaboration
Cricket ACT have been engaging with the other sporting codes and the ACT Government to negotiate a change of season plan. These discussions have been conducted with a great deal of good will from all sports and a high degree of empathy for the challenges that each respective sport is facing. Whilst Cricket ACT has been relatively fortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has not had as significant an impact on our competitions compared to the winter codes, there is a mutual understanding that cricket faced several challenges last season. Overall, Cricket ACT competitions lost close to 20% of scheduled matches due to smoke, bushfires, hailstorms and then COVID-19 which precluded our senior finals from being played.
Cricket ACT have expressed a willingness to support the winter codes in commencing their season by delaying the start of the cricket season, however, this is only by a matter of weeks and we are optimistic we will be able to commence our junior and senior competitions by mid-October. Whilst it is difficult to reach an agreement with the winter codes until they have a confirmed start date for their seasons, we anticipate this is imminent as the ACT Government has lifted restrictions and the NSW Government announced the recommencement of junior sport in recent days. Our Competitions and Cricket Managers will continue to communicate this information with you once finalised.
Whilst it is our role and priority to protect the integrity of our cricket competitions, it would disingenuous of us not to do what we can to support the winter sports so they can play in some capacity in 2020. I encourage all clubs from within cricket and the various other codes to work together on arrangements that suit their individual circumstances and to not lose sight of what is best for community sport in the ACT. We are also urging the ACT Government to contribute to this process by expediting ground transitions as soon as they are able and within a staggered approach rather than the traditional two week shut down period.
Additionally, there is a high likelihood that several sports will extend their seasons deeper into the summer months. These sports are largely the codes that do not rely on shared facilities with cricket. Unfortunately, this will create an overlap of some codes where participants may be forced to choose between two sports that were previously played across separate seasons. I encourage you to speak with your members from last season about this and be proactive and flexible in order to minimise the loss of cricket participants. Our Community Cricket Team are here to work through this situation with you.
Australian Cricket Return to Play Guidelines
Cricket Australia and State & Territory Associations have worked together to provide how we can best support our cricket communities across Australia. Cricket NSW and ACT staff have been working on scenario planning to ensure our communities can be as prepared and supported as possible as we move closer to the resumption of cricket training and competitions.
The Australian Cricket Guidelines for Return to Play were released on 29 May and are available on the MyCricket Community website: www.community.cricket.com.au/clubs/covid-19. This will be the central location for all Australian Cricket guidelines and information as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We encourage you to explore and review the information which covers:
- Return to Play Roadmap
- Return to Play Guidelines
- Return to Training Guidelines
- Additional resources
There is a collection of helpful information that you as a participant or club volunteer can access to start your planning in getting cricket underway either on the nets or grounds throughout the ACT.
These guidelines are overarching for Australian Cricket but still need to be considered in conjunction with ACT Public Health Orders as ultimately, the ACT Government will confirm requirements and public guidelines with which all sports will need to comply when returning to train or play.
For the most current information from the ACT Government, please go to https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/
We understand that COVID-19 guidelines may create additional burdens on our volunteers, and we want to reassure you we will continue to be here for you and all our cricket communities. Please reach out to our Community Cricket team for additional support.
Virtual Cricket Awards
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our champion teams and individuals through our traditional ACT Cricket Awards and Junior Presentation. Cricket ACT are pleased that we have been able to recognise these feats virtually and we thank you for the way in which you have supported these announcements. Congratulations to all the champion teams and individuals that have been and will continue to be announced through our social media platforms.
CEO – Cricket ACT