05 Nov

Cricket Ireland (CI) has been awarded a €1.5 million government grant as part of a rescue fund for Irish sport due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ireland's entire home international summer was wiped out by the pandemic, with the men's team only playing three ODIs in England since the lockdown in March and the women's side yet to return to action.

Warren Deutrom, CI's chief executive, said that the "much-needed funding injection" was a recognition of the impact that Covid-19 has had on Irish cricket at all levels, from grassroots to international.

"This funding goes some way to acknowledging the scale of loss of our growing commercial revenues as well as our commitment to compliance costs towards Covid preparedness for our 2020 season," Deutrom said. "We are also reassured by the new funding package announced by the government in the recent budget, and we look forward to further support over coming months as we build towards a still uncertain 2021."

CI recently released its financial report for 2019, in which it reported only a small deficit of €9,797 despite the loss of $175,000 due to a cyber-crime incident, the loss of a broadcast partner immediately before the start of the home summer and disappointing attendance in the ODI against England.

The financial report said that Ireland's Test against England at Lord's had attracted a higher TV audience than England home Tests against every opponent except India and Australia in the last decade, and revealed income of over €1m from the Euro T20 Slam - in which CI is a minority shareholder - despite the league's failure to launch. It also served a reminder of the challenges faced by Ireland's lack of a permanent home stadium, with a net loss of €2.2m from hosting home internationals in 2019. CI also reported an increase in revenue from ICC distributions, from €5m in 2018 to €6.1m in 2019.

Ireland's women are scheduled to play two 50-over matches and three T20Is against Scotland in Spain this month. Discussions are ongoing around the men's team's winter plans, with a multilateral T20 tournament in the UAE and involving Scotland understood to be on the table.


John Stephenson


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