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ECB bid to protect professional & recreational game with £61m emergency package

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The ECB has announced a £61 million package to help cricket in England and Wales combat the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

With no professional cricket to be played before May 28 and recreational cricket indefinitely suspended, the governing body has stepped in to provide financial assistance to all levels of the game.

Approximately £40m is to be released immediately to handle challenges with cash flow facing first-class counties and county cricket boards, with £20m to be made available to recreational clubs in the form of interest-free loans and grants.

The figure of £40m is to be deposited to the first-class counties and county cricket boards on Wednesday through the early release of “county partnership distributions” for May to July and the immediate availability of two years’ funds for facilities maintenance which will no longer be restricted to expenditure for that very purpose. Approximately £20m of funding will be derived through the county partnership deal, with £15.5m coming from the “facilities maintenance distribution”. 

To protect counties not eligible for facilities maintenance funding for 2020 and 2021, the ECB has made a further £5.5m available for use.

ECB chief financial officer Scott Smith confirmed to reporters via a video conference call on Tuesday that the emergency fund has come through the ECB’s existing financial framework and not through external loans.

Staging fees for international matches have been suspended for the next four months, while fees will be waived for any internationals not played in 2020.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison added that the ECB is exploring the possibility of using the government’s furlough scheme for its staff, although England’s centrally-contracted players will not be part of the scheme or be asked to take pay cuts.

“It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history,” Harrison told reporters.

“We’re doing everything we can to try and make sure that we keep the cricket network in business. Today’s announcement is part of that endeavour.”


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