Hit by its biggest operational loss in recent times, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is moving to put in place measures to bring the organisation on solid financial ground.
WICB president Wes Hall revealed here yesterday the board incurred a loss of BDS$15 million for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001. It followed deficits of $10.8 million and more than $6 million in the preceding two years.
The losses experienced over the last two or three years are of grave concern to me and to this board, Hall told a Press conference on a rain-drenched morning at Sabina Park yesterday.
When I took office on July 22, 2001, I decided I would place high priority on setting the organisation, and by extension West Indies cricket, on firm financial footing.
The board is committed to reversing this trend of losses and has approved a break-even position for this financial year.
The WICB has therefore put in place at least three measures to beef up its finances.
In order to finance its medium-term cash-flow shortfall, it has obtained a loan from First Citizens and Merchant Bank in Trinidad and Tobago, and has also opted to amalgamate its finance and executive committees to allow closer linkages between financial and operational matters.
Additionally, the board has prepared a financial procedures manual that was drafted by its new chief finance officer (CFO) Barry Thomas.
Ensuring adherence to strict financial procedures and budgetary limits will be a priority for the CFO and the entire staff of the headquarters, Hall said.
The board will also be making greater efforts to encourage timely reporting from member associations that will allow us to get a clear picture of the finances in time to make adjustments operationally if necessary.
Hall said the main reason for the loss last year was because the board decided, in spite of decreased revenues, to follow through with its commitment to finance the development component of the WICB's strategic plan, including the expansion of the Busta Cup and Red Stripe Bowl.
The key factors contributing to decreased revenues were commitments under the International Cricket Council's ten-year programme and the unfavourable fee structure, losses from home tournaments and the television production costs for the South Africa series that could not be offset by television rights, as well as losses from the disposal of investments made in 2000.
The WICB boss said that series against teams other than England, Australia and India would always yield losses, but the board expected to earn substantial revenues this year from television rights for the current Indian tour that will help achieve a break-even position.
Last week, WICB marketing manager for events and promotions Darren Millien estimated the washout of the two One-Dayers here at BDS$500 000.