ECB launches £61m fund to help cricket ‘withstand’ COVID-19

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has revealed a £61m financial package in order to ‘help cricket withstand the financial impact of COVID-19’.

ECB has issued this fund to support the whole sport from grassroots to elite levels including the MCC, the First-Class Counties (FCCs) and its County Cricket Boards (CCBs).

Tom Harrison, chief executive officer of the ECB, stated: “We would like to thank everyone within the cricket network who is working tirelessly to protect the game during this period of uncertainty.

“We understand these are challenging times and it has been our priority to provide swift and immediate support to all members of the cricket family at every level in England and Wales.

“We are fully aware that the situation with COVID-19 will continue to develop, and it will be months before the full financial fallout is made clear. We will continue to work with all of our partners to protect the ongoing health of the entire game in the short term and beyond.”

Around £40m will be made immediately available through various schemes including early release of three months county partnership distributions, immediate availability of two years’ facilities maintenance and a further £5.5m to the county’s not eligible for 2020-2021 ordinary facilities maintenance.

All international staging fees for four months will also be suspended if the match could not be played due to COVID-19. Whilst the ECB has revealed that all international staging fees payable in 2020 will be waived.

The remaining £20m will be distributed straight into the recreational game, providing a cricket club support loan scheme, grants through its “Return to Cricket” initiative and a 12-month holiday on loan repayments for grassroot clubs.

In accordance with these measures, ECB also announced that it would be suspending the cricket season until at least May 20, with a range of options around June, July or August rescheduling being discussed.