The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have reported an annual loss of £16.1 million ($22.8 million), with their cash reserves dwindling down to just £2.2 million. The ECB put the blame solely on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after as per AFP reports, ECB had announced reserves of more than £70 million in 2016. However, start-up costs for The Hundred, ECB’s much-hyped franchise competition, cut the amount to £11 million by 2019. The Hundred is likely to be held this year after it was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
ECB also suffered losses of over £100 million as matches were played in bio-bubbles and behind-closed doors. ECB’s financial statement further revealed that the cricket board’s revenue fell by £21 million to 207 million pounds.
There Remains Considerable Uncertainty Over The Year Ahead: Scott Smith CFO ECB
The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) chief financial officer Scott Smith explained that the board would have been in a more difficult situation had it not acted swiftly and taken decisive action early on.
“This has been a challenging year. But by being able to stage international cricket and by taking decisive action early in the pandemic, we have been able to support the network and avoid a far worse financial scenario.
There remains considerable uncertainty over the year ahead, but we hope that delivering another full summer of cricket — and with crowds beginning to return from next week — we are able to protect the revenue we need to invest in growing our game,” Smith said in the AFP report.
COVID-19 Has The Weakened Underlying Financial Health Of The Whole Game – ECB Chairman Ian Watmore
Furthermore, ECB chairman Ian Whatmore has said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had thrown the financial health of the board out of gears. But despite admitting that the ECB coffers had taken a significant hit, Whatmore remained positive about finding a way out.
“Covid-19 has weakened the underlying financial health of the whole game – professional cricket in particular – leading to income falls, cash-flow squeezes, deferred investments, downsizing, an escalation in debt, all against an uncertain global and domestic economic backdrop. This has led to concerns of survival, stability and sustainability of many entities within the game, and hence the entire ‘eco-system’ of the game as we know it,” Whatmore said.
“The financial challenges we face are significant, but I believe that by working through this together, we can find the right answers to ensure we have a sustainable business plan for the future and deliver on the ambition of growing the game,” he added.
England will get some major boost to their finance as New Zealand and India visit their shores for Test matches. The visiting sides will also face each other in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. However, with COVID-19 still around, the matches are likely to be played behind-closed doors.