‘Cricket needs help’ - JCA boss calls for ICC COVID-19 assistance
President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, says local cricket would welcome a financial relief from the International Cricket Council (ICC), similar to what FIFA has provided for their member associations, in an attempt to ease the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Heaven said such funds would help the JCA get through what he described as a tough financial period and put them in a position to address whatever concerns they may have when cricket resumes locally.
“It would help the JCA to ride out the storm in this period of great difficulty. It would also put us in a better position when restarting cricket at whatever level,” Heaven said.
Apart from the three big cricket nations - India, England and Australia - Heaven believes every other cricketing country would welcome some assistance, with economies all over the world struggling.
“Any country would welcome an injection of relief capital, as at these times it doesn’t matter how strong an economy is. There is a fair degree of unpredictability about the epidemiology of the virus. It doesn’t make good for planning. Short-term planning has now become long-term planning, so you understand the dilemma administrators are in. We (JCA) are very optimistic, but even optimism is getting a beating, because it is hard to predict,” Heaven shared.
DEMAND THE SUPPORT
Meanwhile, Melbourne Cricket Club President Mark Neita agrees that a relief fund would be a welcome stimulus, and called on regional cricket bosses to apply pressure and demand support.
“Given the current situation, it is almost imperative that association bodies get the game restarted in all territories. Clubs and parishes have been stagnant for months, and some financial support or gesture from the local cricket association would certainly be welcomed,” Neita said.
“ICC should be helping West Indies cricket. West Indies should be looking to forward funds to the local associations so they can operate. It’s a chain reaction, and the bodies that are at the head of each territory need to step up at this time so the game of cricket gets the support it needs and does not die,” added Neita.
According to Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, there is currently nothing on the table as it relates to COVID-19 relief.
“We get ICC money twice a year, and we will receive something in a few weeks, but there is nothing else at this stage. The ICC wrote to all members in April asking for information from those seeking emergency funds and we provided them with all possible forecasts. But there has been no word whether there will be any emergency funding to members,” Grave said.