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ECB: CRICKET AND COVID-19, YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Date: 29th April 2020

The latest from the ECB

Dated 24 April 2020

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https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1657168/cricket-and-covid-19-your-questions-answered

The health and safety of everyone involved in cricket is the ECB's top priority

On this page we have brought together all of your questions about the impact of COVID-19 on every area of our game.

We will continue to update this article over the coming days and weeks. 

Recreational game

What is happening to the start of the club season?

Based on the Government’s advice, we recommended the suspension of all recreational cricket on 18 March. This suspension remains in place until further notice in order to keep everyone in the cricket family safe – this is our upmost priority.

This suspension extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any associated cricket activity.

We continue to talk regularly to our County Cricket Boards (CCBs) and our leagues and clubs across the country to ensure we’re able to offer the support that is required.

Will the ECB support grassroots clubs if the season is delayed?

On 31 March, the ECB announced an interim funding package of £61million for the recreational and first-class game. This will provide immediate cash assistance to the game.

Just over £20million of that interim funding package will go specifically to supporting the recreational game.

We continue to talk regularly to our County Cricket Boards (CCBs) and our leagues and clubs across the country to ensure we’re able to offer the support that is required.

In addition, cricket clubs and leagues are now able to apply to two new funding schemes specifically designed to help see them through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Please follow this link for comprehensive information on the ECB Emergency Loan Scheme and the Return To Cricket Grant Scheme.

Are clubs able to source any additional financial help beyond the ECB?

There are a range of other financial support packages that are available to recreational sport and we strongly encourage local clubs and leagues to investigate their eligibility for these, which are available immediately subject to meeting the respective criteria.

These include, but are not limited to:

Should clubs be getting members to pay their subscriptions if the season may not take place?

We will issue guidance on this as soon as it’s appropriate to do so. We may recommend clubs ask for donations from their members and use fund raising products such as a crowdfunding service in place of the normal membership fee.

Should clubs still be running indoor nets or any pre-season social event?

No. Following the Government’s advice around social distancing, it was with sadness and reluctance that we recommended the suspension of all recreational cricket and associated activities on March 18. This suspension remains in place.

When cricket can be played, will there be any guidance on individual behaviour, for example, sharing equipment, shining the ball using saliva?

Our medical teams will support and guide during and beyond this crisis to protect the health and wellbeing of all players and club staff.

Should any official courses (ACO/CA/general cricket coaching) still be taking place?

No. Following the Government’s advice around social distancing, it was with sadness and reluctance that we recommended the suspension of all recreational cricket on March 18.

This extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any associated cricket activity – and includes ACO courses and general cricket coaching.

Will Dynamos Cricket and All Stars Cricket take place later this summer?

Following the announcement that all recreational cricket will be suspended until further notice, this unfortunately encompasses both the All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket programmes.

In this rapidly changing environment, we are still working through the finer details of the impact of the suspension but can confirm that we are doing our utmost to find a solution which involves running courses later in the summer.

We are also exploring ways that we can bring cricket to homes across the country through indoor games, challenges and digital content.

What’s your advice to elderly members of cricket clubs?

Our best advice to anyone involved in cricket is to follow the Government’s latest advice.

Should children be playing cricket at their schools at this time?

Following the Government’s latest advice around social distancing, we have recommended that all forms of recreational cricket are for now suspended.

This recommendation includes any schools that are continuing to operate for any vulnerable children or for children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response.

Indoor cricket facilities should also be closed in accordance with Government advice.

What is the advice to grounds maintenance teams in the recreational game?

The ECB has shared guidance with the recreational game for grounds maintenance teams.

As of 23 March, the Government introduced increasingly stringent social distancing in a further attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the potential impact on vulnerable individuals. It is essential that this advice is adhered to in relation to the health and wellbeing of all individuals.

As a result of the Government’s announcements, a number of businesses across the United Kingdom have introduced home working for all staff. There will also be a delay to all regular cricket participation and a delay to the regular season.

The latest government guidance means that ground staff/facilities maintenance fall under:

“travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating".

Should grounds teams decide that essential grounds care needs to continue to look after the club’s facilities during this period of social isolation, they must do so in line with the Government’s latest guidance.

This includes keeping ground staff to minimum numbers, preferably no more than two, that any visits are carefully staggered and particular heightened attention is made to evidence that surfaces carry significant and prolonged risk of contamination. The use of regular shared indoor facilities such as rest rooms, kitchens and changing rooms should be avoided where possible.

This advice is given taking into account the latest government advice. However, the situation is changing very rapidly and may change at short notice. Therefore, please always follow the latest government advice.

Can ECB provide guidance on how clubs should act to stop people turning up and playing social games of cricket?

Everyone should be following government advice on social distancing at this time. 

Clubs are recommended to contact their local police if their ground is being used in a way that does not comply with that advice.

Can clubs make plans for activity should they be able to start the season later?

Yes. We want to help clubs to make sure cricket can start again as soon as it is safe to do so.

We advise all clubs to be flexible and ensure the safety of everyone involved at the club in line with the latest Government advice.

What should we do if someone at our club contracts COVID-19?

For the latest Government advice, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Professional game

International fixtures

Will the international summer be impacted? 

We announced that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least 1 July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season remains subject to ongoing advice from government and health experts and continued consultation with all broadcast partners to determine the optimum way to fulfil fixtures both domestically and internationally. 

Why did you take the decision to postpone professional cricket until at least 1 July?

We firmly believe that protecting the vulnerable, key workers and wider society should be prioritised over any need for sport. It is important to make clear that we will only start the cricket season if it is safe to do so and if Government advice permits.

Will you play international cricket behind closed doors?

We are exploring this option. Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers ultimate safety and security. The guidance we receive from Westminster will shape how we deliver this.

When will international cricket take place?

International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will be focussed on being scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality IT20s and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots.

Will women’s international cricket still be scheduled?

International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will be focused on being scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality IT20s and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots.

Domestic fixtures

What has been your priority in modelling a revised schedule?

We are being guided by four key priorities:

  1. Public safety, health and wellbeing of players, operational staff and cricket fans;
  2. The most financially important forms of cricket for our First-Class Counties: International cricket and the Vitality Blast to help ensure the future of 18 First-Class Counties and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC);
  3. Working closely with our broadcast partners to provide as much live cricket as possible to cricket fans; and
  4. Supporting the women’s game to continue its growth journey

With professional cricket postponed till at least 1 July, what impact will this have on the County Championship?

In total there were nine rounds of County Championship action scheduled up to 1 July which, due to the postponement, have been cancelled but blocks for red-ball and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule.

What matches will be impacted by the delayed season start to 1 July?

  1. The English professional domestic cricket season was scheduled to get underway on 24 March with the traditional Champion County match between holders Essex and MCC in Galle, Sri Lanka.
  2. The MCCU matches were due to commence in the first week of April while the County Championship would have started on Sunday 12 April.
  3. In total there were nine rounds of County Championship action scheduled up to 1 July.
  4. The Vitality Blast was due to commence on 28 May and would have had 11 group matches up until the end of June.
  5. England men’s three-match Test series against West Indies was due to start at the Kia Oval on 5 June followed by the second Test at Edgbaston on 12 June and the third Test at Lord’s commencing on 25 June.
  6. Two England women’s IT20s against India were planned for 25 June and 27 June at Bristol at Taunton.

What’s happening with the Royal London Cup?

The Royal London Cup is an option that is incorporated into some of our models and our thinking. We are fluid with our thoughts at this stage and, once we are in a position to do so, we will be able to confirm the revised schedule.

Refunds

How can fans get refunds for international fixtures that were scheduled for June?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ECB’s announcement that professional cricket is postponed until at least 1 July, the following international fixtures have been postponed and are intended to be rescheduled to a later date in the 2020 season:

England Men v West Indies Test series

  • 4-8 June, The Kia Oval, London
  • 12-16 June, Edgbaston, Birmingham
  • 25-29 June, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London

England Women v India Vitality IT20 series

  • 25 June, The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
    27 June, Bristol County Ground, Bristol

England Women v India Royal London One-Day International series

  • 1 July, Blackfinch New Road, Worcester
  • 4 July, The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
  • 6 July, The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury
  • 9 July, The 1st Central County Ground, Hove

 

If you are a ticket holder, you do not need to do anything at this stage. We are working with our partners across the game to determine how best to reschedule these fixtures in 2020 when it is safe to do so. Please await further advice from the ECB as to rescheduling plans and how this impacts ticket holders.

Original ticket purchasers will be notified in the event that a match is rearranged. Within this communication, we will outline the process for obtaining a refund if you do not wish to attend the rescheduled date.

However, if due to COVID-19, major matches are cancelled for a day for which you have a valid ticket, payment will be automatically refunded for the face value of the ticket. In all cases, refunds will be made directly to the original payment card used to make the purchase. Tickets purchased using alternative payment methods, or where the original payment card has expired, will be refunded with a cheque sent to the original ticket purchaser.

Can fans get refunds for any international fixtures?

If you are a ticket holder for a fixture later in the season, you do not need to do anything at this stage. We are working with our partners across the game to determine how best to reschedule 2020 fixtures when it is safe to do so. Please await further advice from the ECB as to rescheduling plans and how this impacts ticket holders.

Original ticket purchasers will be notified in the event that a match is rearranged. Within this communication, we will outline the process for obtaining a refund if you do not wish to attend the rescheduled date.

However, if due to COVID-19, major matches are cancelled for a day for which you have a valid ticket, payment will be automatically refunded for the face value of the ticket. In all cases, refunds will be made directly to the original payment card used to make the purchase. Tickets purchased using alternative payment methods, or where the original payment card has expired, will be refunded with a cheque sent to the original ticket purchaser.

How can fans get refunds for the Vitality Blast given the dates have changed?

How can fans get refunds for the Vitality Blast given the dates have changed?

If you are a Vitality Blast ticket holder, you do not need to do anything at this stage. We are working with our partners across the game to determine how best to reschedule Vitality Blast in 2020 when it is safe to do so. Please await further advice from the ECB as to rescheduling plans and how this impacts ticket holders.

If, in response to Covid-19, a Vitality Blast match for which you have a valid ticket is postponed or cancelled, please visit the host venue website for further information on their ticket refund policy.

Players

What does the ECB think of the men’s and women’s England players taking pay cuts?

The commitments offered by both men’s and women’s England players demonstrates how cricket is unified in offering solutions to the problems we are facing as a sport and nation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This could take the form of financial commitments, supporting society by sharing important public messaging, or volunteering for the NHS.

This financial commitment comes before a ball has been played in the season, and where the true financial impact is still unknown. We look forward to continued discussions and support as the situation unfolds.

Are you worried about players’ mental health? How will you support them?

The wellbeing of our England players is a priority.

Our England teams retain access to our world-class backroom staff to support both their physical and psychological wellbeing.

We remain in contact with our England teams and will continue to have a duty of care to ensure they receive the support they require.

In addition, the PCA recently announced a new partnership with Sporting Chance to deliver all mental health provisions from the players’ charity, the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.

The ECB wholeheartedly supports this, including making a significant financial contribution.

Support for society

Could clubs, stadiums and sports halls be repurposed?

Our organisational mission is about “connecting communities and improving lives through cricket”.

This purpose goes right to the heart of everything we do, so it is really important that we work closely with the whole cricket family to encourage clubs, players and followers to support their communities during this difficult time.

We are seeing some fantastic examples of cricket facilities being used to fight COVID-19 and support society. For example, Warwickshire CCC has donated Edgbaston to the Department of Health and Social Care to create a drive-through COVID-19 testing station, which will be used to regularly test NHS staff.

Durham and Kent CCC have made their grounds available to the NHS, while Lord’s is supporting its local hospital by providing car parking.

How can players help boost morale?

Players have a massive following and reach so we’re working with them to help us inform, support and entertain during these difficult times, including through the media, digital content and via messages to those most vulnerable.

Many England and county players have demonstrated how cricket comes together in difficult times like this.

Jos Buttler has donated his World Cup Final shirt to the cause, Sam Billings shaved his head for charity and three members of the England Women’s team – Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley – volunteered to support the NHS.

Check out our England Cricket channels across Instagram, You Tube, Twitter and Facebook to see messages and content direct from players at home.

Can any of cricket’s health professionals volunteer to help the fight against COVID-19?

We are working closely with the cricket network and Government to understand how cricket personnel can be of best help and can support society. Some of our medical staff also work for the NHS and are supporting the efforts.

We have also shared the NHS’s call for volunteers with our network and supporters to encourage those who can to join the volunteer team. Players are helping to amplify this message as well to their large fan bases.

How can cricket come together to support the most vulnerable in society? Surely a lot of its fans and members fall into that category.

There is some brilliant work happening across the whole cricket network to support communities during this difficult time. For example, some county clubs have started to call elderly members and stewards to “check in” and, if required, provide them with support to point them to groups they can use while in isolation.

Finances

Why has the ECB taken the decision to provide a £61million interim support package for the professional and recreational game?

We are acutely aware of the concern felt throughout the game about the financial implications of the suspension of cricket because of the spread of COVID-19.

It is appropriate, in these unprecedented and challenging times, that the ECB moves swiftly to allay the financial concerns that people throughout cricket are experiencing during a period of ongoing uncertainty.

Will more support be available if the crisis continues for longer than expected?

We will continue our extensive liaison with cricketing bodies at all levels of the game to assess the financial stability of the whole cricket network in England and Wales.

If the suspension of cricket carries on throughout the summer, we will be seeking ways in which we can continue to support the game for as long as possible.

We have also just announced that cricket clubs and leagues are now able to apply to two new funding schemes specifically designed to help see them through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Please follow this link for comprehensive information on the ECB Emergency Loan Scheme and the Return To Cricket Grant Scheme.

Will clubs and counties continue to be eligible for support from the Government and Sport England?

Yes. We expect that First-Class Counties and County Cricket Boards will utilise all available Government, Sport England and primary/secondary lender support options before needing our assistance.

We will liaise closely with First-Class Counties and County Cricket Boards to ensure they are receiving all the support to which they are entitled.

Why was it necessary to ask staff to take a pay cut, furlough, etc?

The measures were necessary to lower central costs and protect jobs in the long term as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold.

This is the biggest challenge our sport has ever faced – the whole game is being impacted. We believe everyone has a part to play in supporting cricket’s survival.

These measures, combined with the announcement that we are providing a £61million interim package to all levels of cricket, are important to protect cricket and its people during this crisis.

How will these cost savings support the county and recreational game?

The measures, combined with the previous announcement that we are providing a £61million interim package to all levels of cricket, are important to protect cricket and its people.

We are aware the financial situation remains challenging for many across cricket, so our support will be ongoing. We are working closely with the network to review the fast-moving situation and assess the potential impact on the season.

The Hundred

Is The Hundred still going ahead?

The Hundred is under ongoing review and a confirmed approach will be released in due course. If you are a ticket holder, you do not need to do anything at this stage. Original ticket purchasers will be contacted in line with any future announcement about the competition.  

Further support

For Government guidelines around COVID-19, please visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For Government advice around financial support for businesses, please visit: www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

For information on Sport England funding and support packages, please visit: www.sportengland.org/news/coronavirus-information-sector

For information on Sport Wales’s Emergency Relief Fund, please visit: www.sport.wales/content-vault/emergency-relief-fund/

Find out more about the ECB’s funding and support packages here

 

 

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