In a bid to withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on cricket in the country, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a financial aid package worth 61 million pounds. The move might inspire other boards to take similar decisions.
The financial aid was announced to help all levels of cricket in the country after the ECB chief executive Tom Harrison labelled the coronavirus pandemic as “the biggest challenge the ECB have faced in the history of the game in the modern era”.
We are aware the effects will be long standing: ECB chief executive
As there are no cricket matches being played in current situation, boards will bore the brunt financially and it will have a long standing effect. ECB, in a bid to minimise the shortcomings as much as possible, is working round the clock to come up with some significant steps.
“We are aware the effects will be long standing and they will be very significant on us,” Harrison said. “We are trying to work around the clock to understand that impact and take some short term steps to help counties and recreational cubs to get through the immediate impact.
“Right now we are addressing the short term and addressing it aggressively as we feel we can. There will be more pain ahead if we lose a substantial portion of the season. We are building scenarios where we can take further steps as needed. We don’t think this will be the end of it.”
ECB taking a view on what is possible
ECB has already clarified there will be no matches across levels till May 28. The board is working on scenario keeping in mind that the season resume from June. The initial financial package includes expediated payment of 40 million pounds worth of planned budget distributions to the 18 first-class counties and the county cricket boards, according to various reports.
“All scenarios are on the table,” Harrison said. “We will have to take a view on what is possible. The scenarios are being debated at length. We will put safety of players and those working in the game at the heart.” These options include playing matches behind closed doors in “biosecure environments”.
“You should be careful about your priorities in terms of serving your core audience,” he said. “It is at times like this when you go back to what it really important. We are going to have county fans who won’t have seen any cricket, players who we don’t want sitting around, we want them out playing cricket as soon as we can. All of our decisions are based on those factors.”