Published: 18:40, 03 September 2020
| Updated: 18:59, 03 September 2020
Kent Cricket are considering cutting their off-field team by 20%.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been blamed for the measures, which will see a fifth of their staff who work behind the scenes at risk of redundancy.
In a lengthy statement - released shortly after a thrilling T20 victory over Sussex - the club said they were facing one of the most challenging periods in the club’s history.
The statement said: “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 matchday 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.”
The club say they are grateful for the support Canterbury City Council after refinancing a loan with them and made use of the government’s job retention scheme. Executive Directors also took a temporary 20% pay cut.
All capital spending has also bee put on hold with operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.
The club said the decision to retain members’ annual subscriptions was a difficult one, saying: “The vast majority of members have been extremely understanding and we are very grateful for their support.
“Afurther £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.”
Fans remain locked out of matches with the 2020 season being so far played behind closed doors. They say catering partners, Sodexo, have already announced a redundancy programme.
The statement continued: “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.”