No Melbourne kids camp this summer

August 03, 2020

President Mark Neita says that Melbourne Cricket Club has taken what he describes as a major financial hit, as it was forced to close its doors in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neita says it has not been an easy road for Melbourne this past four months as the sudden cancellation of the cricket season and the loss of earnings have placed the club in what he says is a tight spot.

"We had to close the club and a lot of the revenues we make are from the kitchen and bar, so we have not been able to earn any revenue since March," Neita told STAR Sports.

"In addition to that, the cricket camp is sponsored by Foska Oats and we will not host it this summer, so that simply means that sponsorship forms will not come to the club."

Neita says that the cricket camps play a significant role in improving youth development in the sport, and without any organised practice they will be negatively affected.

"If we don't have the camp this year, this would be the first time in 30 years that it wouldn't be held, and it is a big disappointment for the kids and us," he said.

"I think that the fact that Melbourne and other clubs may not have any cricket camp will certainly have a negative impact on the development of our young cricketers." He said that the club is hoping to facilitate the youth cricketers later this year, but a date has not yet been finalised.

Would be difficult

"We would certainly like to keep the camp this year, and if we do it would be certainly towards the end of the year when the kids are on holidays in December," Neita said.

However, he says it would be difficult to host such a large group and be able to adhere to the regulations put in place by the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

"It would be really difficult and impossible for us to maintain social distancing because we have as many as 60 to a hundred kids, and to follow all the protocols would be a challenge for us," Neita said.

"We also have to follow the JCA protocols, as there is absolutely no cricket being played right now."

Melbourne has reopened its doors; however, no major practice sessions are being held at this time as they are awaiting approval to play cricket from the JCA.

"So our coaches are still having some level of practice there, but not at the level before the pandemic," Neita said.

- Athena Clarke

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