Ashes no certainty
JAMES Sutherland admits Australian cricket could be on the brink of financial devastation if there is no summer Ashes.
The cancellation of cricket’s pinnacle series is the worst- case scenario that no one has dared imagine could prevail, but Cricket Australia has this week conceded for the very first time that the threat is real.
When England comes to town the game’s coffers are filled to overflowing and CA has enough in reserve to compensate for the lean summers when the likes of the West Indies and Pakistan roll in.
That sacred urn is why sponsors and broadcasters sign up and why so many punters have already bought tickets.
It’s needless to say that a cancelled Ashes series would literally bring Australia’s national sport to its knees.
The logic that an Ashes up in flames would kill both administrators and players equally is being used as reassurance that Armageddon won’t arrive.
However, this is a pay dispute that has continued to escalate at every turn and if a resolution isn’t brokered by next week as hoped, CA may have to seriously start bracing itself for an end of days scenario.
Sutherland remains confident the summer of cricket will be a bumper one, but he concedes that there is no Plan B.
No Ashes, would equate to CA having to bail out every major stakeholder the game relies upon, potentially to its ruin.
“… In short, the answer is I don’t believe that there would technically be insurance,” said Sutherland.
“There would be an obligation on our part to mitigate losses that would potentially be incurred by our commercial partners or other stakeholders in the game.
“But we haven’t got to that stage and hopefully we won’t need to … we are operating in the here and now.
“It’s not as if we haven’t thought about it … but I suppose we all have that optimism that somewhere, common sense will prevail and we’ll get it sorted.
“Certainly the Ashes is now well and truly on the horizon but there are other things that are very important, including ( the Bangladesh tour) and getting players contracted and getting them paid.”