'Awful news': Cricket rocked by devastating coronavirus tragedy

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
David Hodgkiss (R) with James Anderson at Old Trafford in 2017. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

English cricket is mourning the death of Lancashire chairman David Hodgkiss.

Lancashire County Cricket Club confirmed the 71-year-old died after contracting coronavirus.

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It is understood he also had underlying health issues.

Hodgkiss had been on the board at Old Trafford since 1998 in roles as vice-chairman, treasurer and chairman.

“Further to the announcement from his family, it is with great sadness that Lancashire Cricket announces the passing of its Chairman, David Hodgkiss OBE,” a club statement said.

“David served the club with distinction over many years including holding the offices of treasurer, vice-chairman and latterly chairman.

“He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world.

“Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Tributes flow for David Hodgkiss

Managing director of England cricket and former Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles led the tributes on social media.

“So sad to hear of the passing of @lancscricket Chairman David Hodgkiss. A lovely and generous man, who will be missed by many. RIP David,” the former England spinner wrote.

Former England and Lancashire star Mike Atherton wrote for The Times: “Old Trafford won't be the same without Hodgkiss.”

Matt Parkinson wrote on Twitter: “Such sad news. A great man who always had time for everyone and loved the [club]. Will remember his capping speech for a long time.”

Alex Davies wrote: “Awful news. Funny man who loved the [club]. Played a huge part in getting the club to where it is today. Gave me my county cap and will be forever grateful. RIP David.”

While Liam Livingstone tweeted: “Devastating news, always a pleasure to be around!! Who loved the [club] as much as anyone!!”

ECB gives $124m in aid to English cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a STG61 million (A$124 million) aid package to help the English game withstand the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the English cricket season has been delayed until at least May 28 due to the outbreak, and the ECB is also drawing up contingency plans in case the season is pushed back further.

About STG40 million will be made immediately available through the early release of May to July distributions to First-Class Counties (FCCs) and their County Cricket Boards, the ECB said in a statement.

Two years' facilities maintenance distribution will also be made immediately available to FCCs and a further STG5.5 million released for counties not eligible for ordinary facilities maintenance distributions in 2020-2021, it added.

Jos Buttler is congratulated by David Hodgkiss after England's win over Australia in an ODI in 2018. (Photo by Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images)

"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," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said on Tuesday.

International staging fees have also been suspended for four months and any international staging fees payable in 2020 will be waived if the match is not played as scheduled due to the outbreak.

About STG20 million will be made available for recreational clubs via a cricket club support loan scheme, grants through the "Return to Cricket" scheme and a 12-month holiday on loan repayments.

"We would like to thank everyone within the cricket network who is working tirelessly to protect the game during this period of uncertainty," Harrison added.

"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."

with AAP