ECB to send county cricket £40m crisis funding amid coronavirus struggles

The England and Wales Cricket Board will drop a share of £40 million into county cricket bank accounts today to help them keep the lights on during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cash is money that the counties were due to receive over the next three months, but with no cricket being played before the end of May at the earliest, they are getting it early to help with the cashflow problem across the game.

It is all part of a wider £61 million stimulus package for the 'cricket family' that includes interest free loans for recreational clubs who are struggling with a lack of subs, bar takings and match fees to keep them solvent.

The chief executive of the ECB Tom Harrison made the announcement via videolink where he also confirmed that he would be taking a pay cut to his £720,000 annual salary, but the centrally contracted England players would not, for now.

“This is the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history,” said Harrison. “We are trying to take some short term steps to help counties and recreational cubs to get through the immediate impact.

“This is why we have announced this emergency funding package to give certainty in these extremely difficult times to keep the lights on.

“This is just the start of addressing this massive challenge. We have to work together – every area of the game will be impacted in the event most or all of the cricket season is lost.”

In addition to Harrison, the rest of the executive team are also understood to be taking pay cuts, while the ECB are exploring government supported furloughing options for non-playing staff.

The hope is still strong that some cricket will be played this summer with International cricket followed by the T20 Blast perhaps best positioned to fulfil most requirements especially for broadcasters.

The priority remains the safety of players and staff involved in games, meaning playing cricket in 'bio-secure environments' behind closed doors if necessary and housing touring teams in quarantined hotels.

The likely disruption to the international schedule also means that, for the first time England's white and red ball teams could be in action at the same time in different parts of the country.

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