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Cricket Australia Boss Sacked Over COVID-19 Response

Cricket Australia CEO, Kevin Roberts, has been sacked by the board of Cricket Australia, due to dissatisfaction with his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cricket Australia chairman, Earl Eddings, said in a press conference Roberts resigned, with Twenty20 World Cup chief executive, Nick Hockley, being appointed interim boss of Cricket Australia.

“I can confirm that Kevin Roberts has this morning tended his resignation as chief executive officer of Cricket Australia,” Eddings said.

“The board has accepted his resignation and appointed Nick Hockley as interim chief executive while we commence an international search for the new CEO.

“Kevin feels, and the board agrees, now is the right time for new leadership at Cricket Australia as we reset the organisation to prepare to bounce back from COVID-19,” he said.

It has been reported Roberts’ decision to stand down 80 percent of Cricket Australia staff has led to his sacking, with staff questioning his decisions to reduce the organisation’s expenses, despite the majority of the summer of matches having been completed before the pandemic.

He also initially flagged a reduction in funding by 45 percent, leading to over 150 staff members of state and territory organisations losing their jobs.

Eddings confirmed the board agreed with Roberts decisions at the time, but now have an opportunity to restructure Cricket Australia, with staff having been stood down since April 27.

“At the time, it was necessary in the climate to reduce costs quickly, we did that at the time and now once again, as we start to emerge and different models are coming through, it’s an opportunity for us to reshape that,” Eddings said.

“Kevin has worked tirelessly since taking on the role in difficult circumstances in 2018, and particularly during the challenges of the past few months.

“He is a man of principle who has always put the best interests of cricket first.

“We wish him all the best for his future,” he said.

Australian cricket icon, Ian Healy, said Roberts’ decisions in the wake of COVID-19 meant he had to go.

“He’s led a panic, a very premature panic, on the pandemic for no great reason and no reason he’s been able to explain transparently to the states and the players,” Healy said in an interview on SEN.

“Kevin’s going to cop it… but how does the board let that happen?

“Not only has Kevin implemented a lot of strategies that have turned a lot of people sour… the board of Cricket Australia has overseen all that.

“They still haven’t lost a dollar.

“The television broadcasters are still paying, they’re still right for September so what’s the problem?” he said.

With a further 18 months to go on his contract, Roberts became the latest in the string of high-profile sporting organisation CEOs to be sacked during the COVID-19 pandemic, following Todd Greenberg (NRL) and Raelene Castle (Rugby Australia).

Roberts said he appreciated his opportunity to serve the sport he loves in cricket.

“It’s been a privilege to lead and serve the sport I love as CEO of Cricket Australia,” Roberts said.

“Our team of staff and players are outstanding people who contribute so much to the game and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.

“I’d like to thank the army of volunteers in communities across the country who are the lifeblood of our sport, enabling kids to experience the game and to dream about emulating their heroes in our national teams.

“As a lifelong and passionate member of the cricket community, I look forward to seeing the game thrive into the future,” he said.