THE TT Cricket Board (TTCB) stands to lose a large chunk of its projected annual income due to the global covid19 pandemic.
At the start of the 2020 season, TTCB president Azim Bassarath as well as its marketing and sponsorship committee chairman, Rajendra Mangalie, unveiled a detailed itinerary of fundraising events to aid local cricket development.
However, due to the implementation of government’s civil restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, three of the board’s new and major finance generation initiatives are now expected to be cancelled.
In July, South Africa was scheduled to tour the West Indies for five T20 and two Test matches. During their stay in TT, the TTCB had been planning a special fundraising dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, where corporate entities would be invited to purchase tables and mingle with some of their favourite WI and South African cricketers.
“We’re in a spin now. Everything we had planned is on hold and more than likely none of those of those things will take place for the remainder of the year. The gala dinner is something you have to make sure is properly organised. Tickets and tables should have already been on sale during this time so, it’s a definite setback. With that hanging in the balance, we cannot make a move in terms of going forward with that venture,” Bassarath said.
Additionally, the board had been making significant strides towards the hosting of its inaugural regional franchise Under-23 T20 tournament in mid-June. It was the TTCB’s intention to select six teams via a 90-player draft and then sell the squads to both local and regional corporations before hosting an exclusive tournament at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba.
According to the TTCB president, over $300,000 had already been allocated from sponsors for this unique event. With grave uncertainty now cast on this and several other fundraising initiatives, Bassarath admitted sponsorship may be hard to come by post-covid19.
A regional Under-23 competition was also scheduled to bowl off in two weeks.
“We also wanted to have the T20 franchise tournament with six teams. During our time of planning this event, three people had already come on board, agreeing to purchase one of the franchises at the cost of $100,000 each. This has also been put on the backburner until there is a recovery period. It must be noted that businesspeople who may have come on board prior, their businesses would now have been affected with the shutdown,” he added.
Although the president has accepted financial challenges ahead, since November 2019, the board has been acquiring sponsorship on a monthly basis up until March of this year.
In November, TTCB launched the Under-23 inter-zone domestic tournament, sponsored by Namalco Pavers. December’s North/South Classic revival was financially assisted by Koyash Enterprises Limited while Scotiabank, a longstanding supporter of regional cricket, came on board in January for the launch of the Under-13 and Under-15 zonal competition.
In February, The Price Club Supermarket invested $83,960 in the Under-15 version of the North/South Classic and then backed up its opening instalment with an additional $202,300 injection into Under-17 edition in March.
Amidst the government’s inclination to halt all non-essential employees from returning to work, inclusive of all sporting facilities, Bassarath revealed that workers at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, were still being paid. He hoped however, the sport would bounce back after the pandemic.
The TTCB boss concluded, “We are in a very unsure position at this time. All of this will have a serious impact on the board’s finances. It will affect the finances and operations of the board. These are the things that would have had the staff and board members looking forward to and getting back the interest of the national community back into the sport. We are not taking any chances with coronavirus.”
Mangalie shared similar sentiments and confirmed the financial future of the TTCB is at a current “standstill”. He, and other members of the marketing and sponsorship committee, also remain positive that daily operations can somehow resume after the government’s April 30 tentative deadline to gain control of the spread of covid19.
“We have to follow the laws of the world,” he said. “We remain positive-minded hoping things improve after April 30. The cricket board has been meeting and there are still events on the blackboard we hope can still come to fruition once the virus slows down.”