Monthly stipends of domestic cricketers raised as PCB unveils budget

Updated June 27, 2020

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A 46 per cent increase has been made in the monthly stipends of 192 cricketers representing six associations on the domestic circuit. — AFP/File
A 46 per cent increase has been made in the monthly stipends of 192 cricketers representing six associations on the domestic circuit. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced a Rs7.76 billion operating expenditure budget for 2020-21 while allocating 71.2 per cent of it for cricket-related activities.

In other important decisions, it also made a 46 per cent increase in the monthly stipends of 192 cricketers representing six associations on the domestic circuit, besides separating a department to deal with all the affairs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

These announcements were made during the 58th meeting of the PCB Board of Governors (BoG) held through a video-link due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The BoG approved a Rs7.76 billion operating expenditure budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which is a 10 per cent reduction from the 2019-20 budget as part of PCB’s austerity, robust financial management and belt-tightening exercise,” read a PCB press release issued after the BoG meeting.

“Without compromising and reducing any activities from the year 2019-20, the PCB has allocated 71.2 per cent of the overall budget for cricket-related activities [for 2020-21]. This is to ensure that despite tough financial situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, cricket remains unaffected and the PCB continues to invest in the future,” it further said.

PSL-dedicated department formed

The PCB said that though it is planning to complete all the six association teams by mid-August for domestic competitions, it added that the final decision to start the season will be taken after confirming Covid-19 is on the decline across the country.

“The allocated 71.2 per cent cricket budget includes 25.2 per cent for domestic cricket [events and players/match officials/player support personnel contracts and High Performance Centre costs], 19.3 per cent for international cricket [home/away series and player contracts], 5.5 per cent for women’s cricket [home/away cricket and player contracts], 19.7 per cent for HBL PSL 2021 and 1.5 per cent for Medical and Sport Sciences,” the PCB release detailed.

According to the new monthly retainer structure, the PCB will again offer 192 leading domestic players [32 from each of the six cricket associations] performance-based contracts, but instead of paying a flat monthly retainer of Rs50,000 to all players, in this season slab-wise payments will be made, said the press release.

It added that all 192 players will be divided into five categories. The top category is called as ‘A’-plus and 10 players among the total of 192 are placed in it to get a monthly stipend of Rs150,000. ‘A’ category will offer Rs85,000 each to 38 players while ‘B’ category will entertain 48 players, offering Rs75,000 apiece. Moreover, ‘C’ category has Rs65,000 for each of the 72 players while in the last ‘D’ category, 24 players will receive a stipend of Rs40,000 each.

Moreover, the PCB has also increased the match fees of the cricketers.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan briefed the BoG on the new 12-month domestic player contracts for the 2020-21 season. The new contracts come into effect from Aug 1, 2020.

“Overall, we have increased our investment by 46 per cent in our domestic contract retainers, as compared to last year. We have also created a category based retainer system that will better reward and incentivise the high-performing cricketers,” Wasim said.

PAKISTAN SUPER LEAGUE

Though the BoG could not decide any date to hold the remaining four matches of PSL 5, which could not be completed in March this year due to Covid-19, it plans to include Peshawar as the fifth venue for PSL matches from next year.

However, it has the intent to hold the remaining matches of PSL 5 later this year. The BoG was informed that a total of 500,000 spectators watched the PSL 5 matches at the venues.

Accepting a demand of PSL franchises, the PCB has set up a HBL PSL-dedicated department, separating the league from its commercial department. Shoaib Naveed will head the department, which will also have an oversight group, comprising chief executive, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and director commercial.

The general council meeting of the PSL will also be held in the first week of July.

The press release further said that a shortfall in PCB revenues is expected in the backlash of Covid-19, as international events are hanging in the balance.

The BoG agreed to continue investment on infrastructure development by approving a Rs1.22 billion budget for capital expenditure, a reduction of approximately Rs800 million from 2019-20.

It also approved the PCB Code of Ethics in line with Article 44(d) of the PCB Constitution 2019, aiming at to safeguard the integrity and the reputation of the PCB as the custodian of the game in Pakistan. It deals with matters such as conflict of interest, declaration of interests and confidentiality. In other matters, the BoG approved the model constitution for cricket clubs, as well as the club affiliation and operation rules, details of which will be released on Sunday morning.

Moreover, PCB chairman Ehsan Mani confirmed the BoG that he had been approached by some ICC directors for the ICC Chairmanship but reiterated his commitment to Pakistan cricket.

The PCB has also raised the visa issues of the Pakistan team with the ICC, while participating in a tournament, which has been allocated to India by the game’s world governing body.

Though the BoG members appreciated PCB’s efforts of sending the Pakistan team to England, they also raised their concern over the results of Covid-19 tests of the England-bound squad members. Ten players and an official have tested positive so far.

Meanwhile, Mani said: “We have followed a strict cost-benefit and value for money policy while preparing this budget taking into consideration the economic situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget caters for all critical business of cricket activities, while the nice-to-have activities have been set aside as part of our cost-cutting measures and to protect our reserves for the future.

“Over the next 12 months, we will continue to ensure strict financial management and controls, and I remain confident that we will deliver all our objectives as per our five-year strategy and within budget,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020