Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts to be axed

15 June 2020 - 13:56
By Reuters
Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts speaks during a press conference.
Image: William WEST / AFP Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts speaks during a press conference.

Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Kevin Roberts is set to be replaced by an interim CEO after losing support of the board over his stewardship of the game during the coronavirus shutdown, local media reported on Monday.

Members of the board held an emergency meeting on Sunday to put handover arrangements in place for a replacement, The Australian newspaper said.

The reports did not give details about the interim CEO, while CA did not immediately comment when contacted by Reuters.

Roberts has been criticised for his handling of the shutdown since a decision to furlough about 80% of staff at head office in April to "proactively" manage the impact of Covid-19.

State associations that nominate members to the CA board have pushed back against proposed cuts to their grants, while the players' union has called for dispute resolution with the governing body after rejecting its forward estimates for the revenue that underpins player payments.

CA's decision to snub Perth as a venue for one of the four Test matches in the lucrative India tour in the home summer also angered Western Australia's state association.

Roberts said earlier this month the domestic game stood to lose $54.55m due to Covid-19, with fans barred from stadiums and the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia in October likely to be postponed.

But with the India tour for December all but confirmed and spectators expected to return to stadiums from next month as coronavirus infections dwindle, media pundits have accused Roberts of concocting a financial disaster.

"The good news for cricket has put further pressure on Roberts with states and players emboldened about their claims the game is not facing a financial crisis," The Australian said.

Roberts would become the third CEO of a major Australian sport to lose their job during the coronavirus outbreak, with National Rugby League boss Todd Greenberg and Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle stepping down in recent months.