Cricket Australia braced for $85 million revenue dip due to pandemic

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Cricket Australia (CA) said on Thursday it posted a A$45.9 million (25 million pounds) deficit in the last financial year and could see a A$120 million ($85.55 million) dip its projected revenue for the 2021 period due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CA, which saved around A$40 million during the pandemic through a range of cost-cutting measures including the axing of 40 jobs, said the deficit for the year ending June 30 was in line with budgetary expectations.

"There is no doubt this year has been difficult on a number of fronts across Australian cricket and we have had to work together to navigate our way forward," CA Chairman Earl Eddings said in a statement after the body's annual general meeting.

"The decisions at times have been difficult however critical to ensuring our ongoing financial sustainability."

Australia was scheduled to host the Twenty20 World Cup this year but the event was postponed to 2022 because of the pandemic.

The projected drop in revenue for the next financial year also factored in the bio-security costs and loss of revenue from crowd restrictions for the upcoming India series.

"On current estimates, these factors could have a financial cost to cricket of up to A$120 million in FY21," CA Director Paul Green told the AGM.

India will arrive next month to play six short-form internationals followed by four tests in a blockbuster tour worth about A$300 million to CA.

Interim chief executive Nick Hockley said cricket had overcome a series of setbacks over the last year and CA hoped for better times ahead.

"Despite droughts, bushfires and the pandemic, we must remember that cricket in Australia has been extremely fortunate to largely complete the 2019-20 summer," he said.

"With our season already successfully underway we are incredibly optimistic about our future and ... look forward to delivering a safe and successful summer of cricket."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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