ECB announces aid package for English cricket amid coronavirus outbreak
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a £61 million ($76 million) aid package for English cricket in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The deadly virus has claimed more than 42,000 lives with all sport activities suspended or postponed. English cricket will be benefited largely from this package. Here's what the ECB has decided.
The 18 First-Class English Counties and their boards, as well as the MCC, will immediately each receive a share of some £40m in their respective bank accounts. There will be a further £20m available in interest free loans and grants. ECB chief executive Tom Harrison claimed that this is the biggest challenge the board has faced in the history of cricket.
"We won't know the full impact for a few months. We are trying to work around the clock to understand that impact and take some short term steps to help Counties and recreational clubs to get through the immediate impact. Preparing yourselves for something like this is incredibly difficult, it is a once in a generation scenario," Harrison said, as reported by AFP.
At the moment, all domestic cricket in England has been postponed until at least May 28. There are serious questions about whether a full campaign featuring several competitions, will be played in the end. These include the new Hundred tournament, T20 Blast, tours by West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland as well. The officials could contemplate the nightmare prospect of scrapping the season completely.
"There are a number of different scenarios -- we don't want to make decisions too early," said Harrison. "There are huge implications in bringing international players and teams over. In our modelling there is no cricket at all... 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."