11 Jun

After Guernsey became the first place in the British Isles to play cricket in 2020 with a charity T20 match (see cricketinvestor article 31 May), cricket has also started to come out of its Covid-19 related hibernation elsewhere in Europe.

The same day as Guernsey's charity match, Estonia's T20 Premier League resumed with an eight team competition, and a new forty over competition involving six teams began the next day. Each format will be played every weekend with the final pencilled in for late August/early September.

Finland launched their T20 league on 1 June with an eight team competition, whilst a T10 competition began today with most matches taking place at the Kerava national cricket ground, the world's most northerly ground to have hosted full international cricket matches. A one-day competition is also planned for this year.

In the Czech Republic, a 16 team T10 competition run in conjunction with the European Cricket Network will begin on 13 June and will feature 40 matches in Prague across one month with the final on 12 July.

Many of the leagues are taking advantage of the demand for live sport in present times by live streaming their events through the European Cricket Network.

This live streaming does bring with it a risk of corruption in these amateur events. This is being addressed by the European Cricket Network (ECN) bolstering its own anti-corruption team and has set up an e-mail and WhatsApp service for the reporting of any instances of corruption.

ECN founder and former Germany international Daniel Weston said, “Protecting European cricketers, clubs, federations and officials from corruption is of our highest priority, so that there is safety and security in place as we execute our goals of growing the game and broadening its promotion and awareness all over Europe".

A resumption of European international cricket is also pencilled in, with the European sub-regional events set to take place in La Manga at the end of August. The European regional final is also set for La Manga, possibly as late as November, however this will be subject to the lifting of any Covid-19 related restrictions to travel and sport. The possible postponement of the 2020 T20 World Cup and the effect that may have on the planned 2021 tournament is also a factor.

As if we needed reminding that cricket is still not out of the woods, the ICC has announced the postponement of series nine of the Cricket World Cup League 2 and the second Cricket World Cup Challenge League B due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

John Stephenson


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