18 Mar

The England & Wales Cricket Board ECB should set up a fund to offer interest-free loans of up to £5,000 to all cricket clubs where the suspension of cricket due to Covid-19 has caused significant cash flow problems. Marehay CCC’s chairman, Gareth Harry has called on the ECB to issue urgent guidance to clubs in the light of the coronavirus crisis according to Derbyshire Live. The new local league season is a month away and the professional domestic season a little closer but it would seem likely that it will be unable to start on time. In a letter to Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, which he has also published publicly, Harry, an MCC member who still plays for his club and the MCC as a wicketkeeper, says clubs need some information as they would normally be about to spend a good deal of money on preparation for the season.

He writes: “During this time of emerging national crisis, the recreational game needs a clear and decisive approach from our national governing body, should Covid-19 not prove disastrous to cricket clubs around the country. “League cricket clubs are about to enter into a key phase of pre-season preparations and undertaking significant expenditure in a number of areas: final ground preparations, purchase of balls, payment of insurance premiums, stocking of bars and, in some instances, the engagement of paid professional cricketers. “Should clubs conduct their normal pre-season expenditure and then see a later suspension of games, with no opportunity to gain income from bar sales, match fees etc, then clubs will be impacted by significant cashflow challenges that may see many clubs fold. “Furthermore, and more important, many of the key volunteers and officials at clubs and leagues, including most of our league umpires and scorers, are in groups of the population most vulnerable to Covid-19, the over-60s. Confusion or delay over the status of the recreational game may put these individuals at risk.“I would ask that the ECB take rapid, firm and decisive action to communicate a consistent approach to a delay to the start of the season across the country, including all national club competitions and leagues affiliated to the ECB. “Leaving the decision to local leagues will not provide the certainty or the speed of decision that many clubs will require.”

Brian Sturgess


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