CHENNAI: Over 300 umpires and match referees and many video analysts and scorers are losing hope of getting any compensation package for the curtailed 2020-21 domestic season.
While the BCCI announced a pay hike and a compensation package for the domestic cricketers, the body has remained tight-lipped about match officials even as the next season is around the corner. It is reliably learned that the issue came up for discussion during the Apex Council meeting, but it was kept aside as the BCCI believes several of them are employed with private firms and the curtailed domestic season hasn’t affected them.
While it is true that some are still employed in few organizations, many of them had quit in 2018 and 2019. Several of them resigned from full-time jobs as the number of domestic matches, across all age groups, exceeded 2,000. With an average of 40 matchdays assigned in a season where the majority of the umpires earned Rs 30,000 per match day, they received at least Rs 12,00,000 a season.
In the 2020/21 season, with the BCCI not able to hold most of the tournaments, only a few got to officiate and even then they ended up earning only around Rs 2.5 lakhs. While a full-fledged season awaits them, there are indications that the BCCI will allow every umpire an average of 30-35 matches so that matchdays are evenly distributed.
“If we give them a pay-hike, Grade A umpires will fall in the same pay bracket as players who have played 21-40 matches. These things need to be addressed,” a BCCI official said.
The BCCI officials reckon some of the umpires (20 in Grade A) were getting more pay than the domestic players and the story remains the same even after the pay hike. It is understood that few of the umpires have taken it up with their respective state units and the issue will be raised during the annual general meeting. Most of the umpires and match officials happen to represent Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Mumbai cricket associations and there are concerns that not all members will be unified when it comes to the compensation package.
“Some of them even received Rs 18 lakh a season, but that may not happen this time because there are six groups. It is true that some state associations have brought the matter to our attention, we need to find a formula. If need be, they can compensate as well. Andhra cricket association, for instance, paid few during the pandemic,” the official added.