ECB reveal emergency £61million funding for counties and clubs

PUBLISHED: 08:20 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 01 April 2020

A view of the Old Father Time weathervane at Lord's

A view of the Old Father Time weathervane at Lord's

PA Archive/PA Images

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced an emergency funding package worth £61million to keep counties and clubs afloat during what could be “the biggest challenge in the history of the game”.

The coronavirus crisis has forced the domestic campaign to be postponed until at least May 28, although the governing body’s own modelling takes into account the possibility of the entire 2020 campaign being cancelled.

The resulting loss in revenues presents a dire problem during what should be the sport’s peak commercial months and the ECB response has been swift - with £40million dropping into the accounts of first-class counties and county cricket boards on Wednesday morning.

That money involves bringing bringing forward some promised payments and removing restrictions around others, with more than £20million also being made available in the form of interest-free loans and grants. At present no new money is being borrowed by the ECB but further stimulus has not been ruled out.

Announcing the measures, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in the history of the game, the modern era anyway and certainly in the ECB’s history.

“The impact on the sports environment is massive from Covid-19 and 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 for us. We are doing everything we can to try and make sure that we keep the cricket network in business.

“The aim is to give certainty in these extremely difficult times and to keep the lights on. This is just the start of addressing this massive challenge and we have to work together because every area of the game will be impacted in the event that most or all of the cricket season is lost.”

Monthly payments which would usually be passed down by the ECB in May, June and July will be issued immediately, as will two years’ worth of facilities maintenance money. The latter is usually ring-fenced for work on the ground and venues but is now unrestricted.

Staging fees - which grounds pay back to the ECB for the right to host international matches and major domestic events - will be suspended for four months and waived for any games which fall by the wayside. At the organisation itself Harrison, who earns almost £720,000, will lead the way with an as yet undefined pay cut - “of course I will,” he said - while the prospect of furloughing some non-playing staff is under consideration.

You may also want to watch:

As previously confirmed by the PA news agency, centrally contracted England players will not be approached to take a pay cut but may discuss the option on a voluntary basis.

Harrison added: “There is 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.”

While a completely barren season is a real possibility, major considerations have also gone into what would happen should cricket be back on the agenda before the end of the summer.

The most lucrative matches will be favoured - meaning men’s internationals, the Vitality Blast and the inaugural season of The Hundred. Harrison admitted the latter competition, a new format designed and promoted by the ECB in a bid to draw a new audience to the sport, could be pushed back to 2021 if there were restrictions on fans entering the grounds.

“All scenarios are on the table, we will have to take a view on what is possible,” he said.

“It is not just about being behind closed doors for The Hundred, (but) it is one of the issues we are grappling with.

“We will have to have discussions in a few weeks about getting crowds into stadiums. If that is not going to be possible and we can serve cricket fans in this country in some way then we will look at that. We will put safety of players and those working in the game at the heart.

“The government will control all big events so we’d need DCMS approval for any cricket we want to play.”

Hope remains that cricket can survive the current pressures intact and Harrison believes it can play its part in a wider national celebration when the outlook improves.

“We are thinking creatively about what this moment might be like when the nation comes back out and to have cricket be part of that,” he said.

“Cricket can be part of that healing process.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News


Players from West Ham United’s Academy of Football are keeping track of their fitness programmes, while at the same time raising money in aid of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, to support their inspiring local NHS heroes in East London and Essex.


Leyton Orient chief executive Danny Macklin heaped praise on Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane by terming him as a ‘first-class individual’


The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s recommendation of a temporary ban on using saliva to shine the ball could hand batsmen a significant advantage, claims Australia paceman Mitchell Starc.

Yesterday, 16:02

The 2019-20 Women’s Super League season has been brought to an end with immediate effect.

Yesterday, 13:00

Premier League clubs will vote on proposals for a return to contact training on Wednesday.

Yesterday, 12:00

With sport still shut down across most of the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic, why not test your sporting knowledge with another quiz?

Yesterday, 08:02

Professional sport has nudged a further step closer to a resumption after the government published ‘stage two’ of its guidance which enables competitive and close-contact training.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

England Boxing is set to launch a series of free 30-minute online mental health awareness sessions called ‘Box In Mind Bitesize’.


The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and support business across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak.

People working for a wide range of private companies have been standing side-by-side with public sector staff on the front line during the coronavirus outbreak.

The United Kingdom is pulling together as one, with people from all regions and all four nations of the country helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

Most read sport


A competition for wannabe writers has been started to add works to Canary Wharf’s ‘short story’ dispensers which are temporarily locked up by the lock down.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser