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Pandemic forces Cricket West India to borrow money to pay staff players, says its president

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Photo file of West Indian players

Cricket West India President Ricky Skerrit, who is seeking re-election after a two-year term, has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to borrow money to pay salaries to players and staff, but the debt on board has been reduced to third in his term.

Skerrit will run for re-election against Guyana Cricket Board Secretary Anand Sanassi.

Speaking about the state of CWI’s finances, Skerrit said they had improved significantly since he took office.

“The biggest problem we faced was that all our future money was spoken out before we even got it. We lived on loan in the future. So we had nearly $ 20 million in institutional debt. And we took loans to pay back lenders.

“Everything was smoke and mirrors. And this is understandable for short-term strategies when there are difficult times for cash flow. But it has become endemic,” Skerrit told ESPNcricinfo.

The CWI chief went on to say that the board must take out loans to pay staff who received a 50% pay cut after the pandemic.

“So we had to tighten our belts, focus on money, not profit and loss, and get rid of all unnecessary expenses. And now we have reduced our debt by at least a third in less than two years.

“And with some difficulty we improved our ability to perform our duties, we just failed to fulfill most of our duties (before).
“We borrowed money to pay salaries. We did that in the first year I was in office. Until the early summer of last year, we literally had to borrow to pay only players and staff,” he said.

The West Indies team was the first to circumnavigate the pandemic, flying to England for a test series last July.

Regarding the impact of the health crisis on the game, Skerrit added: “The pandemic has made everything more devastating. But it has also given us the opportunity and an excuse to focus on what we really needed to understand that all stakeholders will take casualties. all of us, including a 50% pay cut for everyone.

“The pandemic has forced us to do more with even less. And I think we will eventually come out of the pandemic more informed and better informed about what is needed in the future.”

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