Coronavirus shutdown is 'biggest challenge ECB has ever faced' with entire cricket season at risk

Will Macpherson
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Chief Executive Tom Harrison says the England and Wales Cricket Board is “facing the biggest challenge in its history” as he announced cricket’s financial response to the coronavirus crisis.

Cricket at all levels is currently suspended, and Harrison is aware that the whole season could be lost.

The ECB have offered a £61m package to address issues at all levels of the game. £41m will go to the professional game, with around £20m at grassroots level. ECB say all the money has come from inside the organisation.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the biggest challenge the ECB have faced in their history,” said Harrison on a conference call today. “The extensive cancellations from Olympics to the Euros to Grand Prixs – the impact on the sports environment is massive. We won’t know the full impact for a few months.

“We are aware the effects will be long standing and they will be very significant on us. 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.

“To help cricket get through this we are today announcing a stimulus package – an emergency funding package of £60m across the recreational and professional game. In line with our objectives for funding for all from elite cricket including MCC, counties and county cricket boards. There is £40 million in cash for immediate and then £20million in interest free loans. This is to give certainty in these extremely difficult times to keep the lights on.

“We have to acknowledge the bigger picture, this is a deeply challenging time. 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 cricket season is lost.

“There is more pain ahead if we lose 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 ned of it.”

A cut to Harrison’s £719,175 annual salary will be finalised in the coming days, but he confirmed they were not seeking pay cuts from England’s centrally contracted players.

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