20 Aug

The minimum wage for full-time county cricketers is to be temporarily lowered to £24,000 in a bid to keep more players employed as the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic begins to hit.

The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) has been in talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the 18 first-class counties in a bid to avoid the mass release of out-of-contract players at the end of the 2020 season.

The existing county partnership agreement guaranteed a base salary of £27,500 between 2020 and 2024, but that has now been lowered by £3,500 for any new deals covering the 2021 season.

All existing multi-year contracts must be honoured in full, while the old threshold is set to return for subsequent campaigns in the hope that fans will be able to return to grounds and bring a more normalised revenue.

The PCA has also agreed to so-called 'summer contracts' which see players employed for only seven or eight months in the year.

Young players who are too old for lower-paid 'rookie contracts' at 18 will also be eligible to re-sign one more year on a reduced starting wage from £16,000 for the 2021 campaign.

PCA chairman Daryl Mitchell, who plays for Worcestershire, said: "These actions have been taken given we were faced with 134 players out of contract as 'pre-season' began in July and the uncertain financial future of the game.

"Although many of these players have now been awarded new deals or moved counties, we need to be flexible and do everything to protect jobs for our members.

"I understand these measures are not ideal but given the situation presented to us by the ECB and the first-class counties, they are necessary to maintain as many members in employment as possible in 2021 and to enable them to continue their careers beyond.

"It is important for us as players to understand the gravity of the challenge the game now faces and act as responsible stakeholders in the game as we move forward together."

John Stephenson


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