Jamaica cricket maps strategic course as COVID-19 stumps competitions


Jamaica cricket maps strategic course as COVID-19 stumps competitions

Senior staff reporter

Friday, April 03, 2020

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THE absence of competition and preparation activities provides the opportunity to focus on enhancing development plans, says the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Courtney Francis.

The spread of the novel coronavirus has crippled the sporting world, triggering sweeping postponements and cancellations.

Cricket West Indies (CWI), the region's governing body, has suspended all competitions and events until May 31, 2020. In Jamaica, local cricket is also at a standstill.

But Francis noted that the inactivity can be used to improve other areas.

“All our cricket development is being affected. The Senior Cup [competition] was stopped at the preliminary stage. We are not playing, and even some of our sources: our high school competitions are down right now; our primary school competition will not be played.

“There is no cricket but there is much to do. We, at the JCA management [level], have had discussions about some of the things we have done so far to see how we could be more efficient. We are looking at future programmes because we have to be changing as we go along,” he said, while declining to outline the recommendations until the JCA board has reviewed them.

“We hope that the board will take them [the recommendations] into consideration to see how best [the association] can be more effective; and how best they can address something like this [the virus pandemic] if it happens [again] in the near future,” Francis added.

The JCA CEO said future competitions such as the all-island 50-over competition contested among clubs and parishes, preparation for all national programmes, including for the youth and women's teams have also been affected.

“As it is now, we are just coming to realise how important sport is,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“It [the inactivity] is a challenge, but we see the bigger picture; we are very conscious as to what is happening and we are acting in accordance for the benefit of the greater good. And nobody can foresee what is going to happen post-COVID-19 [disease],” Francis said.

“The recommendation to the board is that we cancel the [Senior Cup] tournament. Then we would wait and see how this pandemic would work out and be guided by the Ministry of Health to determine a start point for whatever competition we would have at that time of the year.

“It would depend on when we get that go ahead. When the go ahead is given we'd also have to give a two-week [window] before competition, so people can have some kind of preparation to get back into the groove and also to organise accordingly. At that time we would finalise a calendar for the rest of the year and then we can proceed as usual the new year,” he explained.

He explained that because the board funds its own competitions there is no loss of revenue from not being able to stage them as originally scheduled.

“They are not profit-making competitions because they were always expenses for the board. In fact, not having them means the deficit in our budget would be reduced significantly,” he told the Observer, while reiterating that development is the greatest immediate concern.

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