Report reveals ‘massive’ irregularities in West Indies Cricket Board’s finances
An audit into the financial problems affecting West Indies cricket has found a “massive hole” in its coffers and, according to board president, Ricky Skerritt, sounded “an alarm bell” for its future. The report, compiled by external and independent auditors PKF, suggests Cricket West Indies (CWI) has suffered from overly optimistic revenue projections and unsustainable costs. It also criticises an opaque and inadequate accounting system, which enabled abuses to go unreported and posed a threat to “the board’s long-term sustainability.” News of the report’s findings comes as CWI struggles to pay match fees owed to its players. But while it is clear the current board management is grappling with a cash flow crisis, the report puts much of the blame on historic factors. Those historic factors centre predominantly on the previous administration, headed by David Cameron; Cameron has been quoted as saying that he is the victim of a “smear campaign” and questioned the “credibility of the report and its findings.” The report –– intended only for the attention of CWI directors –– criticises the previous administration for creating an unsustainable bureaucracy. Among the key issues was the decision to promote the Corporate Secretary to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) within the same accounting period as recruiting a new CEO (Johnny Grave) to perform similar tasks. The report estimates this squandered over $300,000.
“To put into perspective since January 2017 the corporate secretary [the COO] earned US$19,000 per month or about US$646,000 for the last 34 months,” the report reads. “Assuming that the fair market value for such service is US$10,000 a month (at extreme) CWI has paid an unnecessary premium of approximately of US$306,000 over that period for no apparent reason.” There is also criticism of the manner in which Richard Pybus was re-employed. “Mr Cameron brought back the former Director of Cricket as Director of High Performance without prior knowledge of the board, the CEO or current Director of Cricket. Furthermore, this new position within the Cricket Department was never identified as a key role by the Cricket Committee. As well, the appointment was not approved by either the HR Committee or board in advance of a contract being offered. The CWI contract was worth US$280,000 for a two year-period.”
Pybus has subsequently left the organisation, while the position of COO has been made redundant. The report has also interpreted a dip in the projected revenues CWI is due to receive from the ICC as a “massive hole” in board finances.
In 2018, CWI was projected to receive $128m over the next eight years from the ICC, a payment of $16m a year. But while the ICC had, indeed, projected that figure, it was only a projection, based on how much revenue future ICC tournaments were expected to raise. That has since been revised downwards (though there is a possibility it could go up again, given two ICC events are due to be held in India before the cycle ends in 2023). Currently, CWI is forecast to receive around $117.6m over that eight-year period leaving them with, as PKF reported it, “a massive hole” of over $10m in their finances. The report, however, focuses on a $50,000 bonus to Cameron, the CWI’s president at the time, for his role in securing the $128m projection. Cameron –– who has not seen the report –– believes the current regime is “bent on covering their incompetence and failure to deliver… by desperately trying to shift focus to me with baseless accusations.” While Cameron is a focus of the report, the board of CWI also come in for criticism. Cameron insisted every decision he made had the appropriate approvals.