Kent Cricket to make redundancies
Kent Cricket to make redundancies

Kent Cricket has today announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Club has been forced to place approximately 20% of the off-field team at risk of redundancy.

A statement from the club reads:

“We were due to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Kent Cricket in 2020 but instead, we have been facing one of the most challenging periods in our history.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working hard to ensure the Club emerges from the crisis. As with the other First-Class counties and like many other businesses operating in the sport and leisure sector, we have been, and continue to be, greatly impacted. Our match day and non-match day revenues have largely disappeared and the impact will continue to be felt into the 2021 season and beyond.”

“As soon as the severity of the crisis became apparent, we responded by implementing wide-ranging measures to reduce our costs.”

“Our first priority was to refinance the terms of our significant loan with Canterbury City Council. This work is now complete and we are grateful for their support.”

“We took advantage of the government’s furlough scheme and both playing staff and non-playing staff participated in the scheme in an effort to save jobs. This was in addition to the Executive Directors volunteering a temporary 20% pay cut.”

“In a further effort to reduce costs, we put all capital spending on hold and operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.”

“Most recently, we took the difficult decision to retain our members’ annual subscriptions. The vast majority of members have been extremely understanding and we are very grateful for their support. A further £31,000 of donations from members and supporters have been forthcoming from those who wanted to make an additional contribution to the cause.”

“The steps we have taken have all reduced the financial impact of the pandemic on the Club. It is now clear that we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue.”

“In April, we were hopeful of a return to cricket with fans attending for most of the 2020 season; however this was an optimistic view and the reality has been different. We do not know whether the 2021 cricket season will enable us to ‘return to normal’ or whether our members and supporters will only be able to return in limited numbers, which will have a further significant impact on revenues.”

“Our catering partners, Sodexo, have already announced a redundancy programme and we are working with them to develop a credible recovery plan for the joint venture that delivers our catering, conference and events business. The forecasts for a short term recovery in this sector are negative with social distancing measures likely to be in place for some time to come.”

“Our ECB income is heavily reliant on the media broadcast schedule. A huge amount of work has gone into playing international cricket behind closed doors in 2020, but every tour carries risk and it is unlikely to be different in 2021. Consequently, the ECB funding schedule remains uncertain.”

“The forecasts for the economy are also troubling. Undoubtedly, many of our members and supporters will have less disposable income and our sponsors and commercial partners will have less money to spend, not least as their priority will be to save jobs and ensure their own survival.”

“The situation we are now facing means that, in line with many other organisations, we need to review our staffing levels, structure and financial commitments.”

“Our aim has been to protect the jobs and salaries of our Kent Cricket staff for as long as we possibly can and we are extremely sorry that we have had to take a decision to propose redundancies. We have looked at every aspect of the Club and our expenditure but unfortunately we have now come to the point where we are proposing a reduction of approximately 20% in our off-field work-force. To protect as many jobs as possible, we will also be consulting with our staff on a temporary salary reduction and flexible working arrangements through the difficult close season that lies ahead.”

“We know that this is an extremely troubling time for our dedicated team and our focus is on managing this as sensitively as possible. These proposed changes are driven by a desire to see Kent Cricket survive the current crisis and be in a position to recover. The Club has been at the heart of the Kent community for over 150 years; from grass roots, community cricket clubs and schools, to the professional game, we need to be in the right shape and ready to play a leading role in the County’s recovery, as soon as it is safe to do so.”