ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) will get rid of about half of its staff complement in its latest staff rationalisation in a bid to reduce a crippling wage bill that had become unsustainable for the financially struggling institution.
In recent years ZC has been relying mostly on International Cricket Council (ICC) funding without any sponsors pouring in monetary support and has struggled to fund its operations including players’ salaries and allowances.
Recently, some of the key players declined to take part in national team commitments due to unpaid salaries and allowances and Zimbabwe had to put up a makeshift squad for both their T-20 tri series against Australia and Pakistan as well as for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the latter.
In view of the financial problems faced by the Tavengwa Mukuhlani-led body as well as a debt which is around US$20 million, the ICC has directed the ZC to cut its wage bill among other measures to help Zimbabwe solve its problems.
The staff rationalisation is expected to affect players as ZC is reducing the number on national contracts from 24 to 19. Players are expected to be offered new contracts before returning to training on Monday as they prepare for their tour to South Africa.
Mukuhlani yesterday confirmed that players would be affected, but said ZC is committed to rewarding deserving players.
“We had to do the exercise because our wage bill had become unsustainable. It’s unfortunate that some people will lose their jobs, but it’s the only way we can keep the game afloat at the moment,” he said. “In a way the players will be affected but the reduction in the number of nationally contracted players is much to do with performance. We can’t just dish out contracts, we have looked at the players and we want to give only those that we feel deserve. Some of these guys have just been earning, but without the end product that goes with what they were getting.”
It will be interesting to see which players will miss out on contracts this time around, but the ICC wants ZC to prioritise the players’ remuneration.
IndependentSport understands that on the women’s side, ZC will reduce the contracted players from 18 last season to just eight.
More than 100 employees will lose their jobs at ZC around the country.
ZC had a staff complement of around 300 but just about 180 of those will remain with the organisation going forward.
It is not clear which sectors are mainly affected but some of the ground staff will be cut loose as well as some administrative staff.
ZC embarked on a similar exercise a few years back which also included the cutting of salaries for those that were fortunate enough to keep their jobs.