The ECB have said that they are still hoping to see recreational cricket return “on or around” July 4, despite UK prime minister Boris Johnson saying that “we can’t change the guidance” on playing the sport yet.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) along with the nation’s cricket players are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with Government to achieve this,” read a statement.
“We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted. It is our strong desire to work with Government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4 as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.”
The statement also pointed to sports which it feels pose similar risks to cricket, which will be permitted when lockdown restrictions are eased.
“We are heartened that the Government has already permitted the return of other ball sports, including tennis and basketball, and we are sure that our interpretation of the risks around ball transmission is consistent with these other games,” the statement continued.
“We can confirm that any guidance we share with the game will include directions on how to mitigate any risk from handling the ball as we continue to prioritise the health and safety of the cricket family in all our decision-making.’’
Johnson had said in the House of Commons: “Everybody will want to add something onto the great wheelbarrow of measures that we’re making and at a certain point, there will come a straw that breaks the camel’s back. The problem with cricket, everybody understands that the ball is a natural vector of disease. At any rate, we’ve been round it many times with our scientific friends, at the moment, we’re still working on ways to make cricket more Covid-secure but we can’t change the guidance yet.”
Later in the daily briefing, he offered hope for a resumption at some point. “I would like to play village cricket again,” he said. “I want to stress that we are working on all of these things. We are working with all the industries, performing arts, the theatres, gyms. All the things we can’t quite do at the moment, sports such as cricket, we are trying to make it work as fast as we possibly can. Don’t think that this package represents the summit of our ambitions; it’s as far as we can go for now.”
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