18 Jun

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday (17 June) launched a further financial package of over £35m to assist professional and recreational cricket during the coronavirus pandemic.

The support fund, which has been approved by the ECB Board, enhances the initial package of £61m that was announced in March.

The Board agreed to accelerate payments from across the 2020-2021 distribution budgets, with £30.22m of the latest £35.7m outlay made available to the 18 first-class counties and the MCC from August 1 - including an early release of the remainder of The Hundred payments - and £5.5m accessible for County Cricket Boards (CCB) from the same date.

In addition to the £5.5m available to the CCBs, recreational clubs will continue to have access to the £20m available through the cricket club support loan scheme, grants through the "Return to Cricket" scheme and a 12-month holiday on loan repayments.

No domestic cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least August 1 due to the pandemic, although England will return to international action in July with a behind-closed-doors Test series against West Indies at the bio-secure venues of The Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford.

ECB CEO, Tom Harrison, said: "It is the ECB's responsibility to protect the whole game's future during the financial uncertainty we face.

"We continue to work closely with all levels of the game to understand the challenges that are being presented and to map out a plan for the future.

"While I am pleased the ECB Board has been able to approve this financial support package for the remainder of this year we are still only at the beginning of addressing the impact of this crisis on cricket.

"We still should not underestimate the significant financial burden that is ahead of us across all levels of the game. We must seek to reduce the cost base across the game, as we face up to the sobering reality of what lies ahead of us.

"It remains our priority to get cricket started again this summer, from the grassroots to the elite level, and we will continue to work with Government to try and do that in a way that keeps people safe but that limits the ongoing impact of this crisis on our game."

John Stephenson


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