The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a 61 million pounds ($75.63 million) aid package on Tuesday 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 40 million pounds 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 5.5 million pounds released for counties not eligible for ordinary facilities maintenance distributions in 2020-2021, it added.
“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.
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 20 million pounds 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.”
England test captain Joe Root said earlier that he expects talks with the ECB over possible pay cuts for international players to help safeguard the game during the outbreak.