The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stands to lose over 300 million pounds if no cricket is played in the upcoming season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, its chief executive Tom Harrison has said.
In another development, England’s centrally contracted players appear to have said no to the ECB’s offer of taking a 20 percent pay cut as part of board’s plans to combat the financial challenges arising out of the pandemic, reported ESPNcricinfo.
The ECB on Tuesday announced a 61 million support package to tackle the ongoing crisis.
In a letter of Professional Cricketers’ Association chief Tony Irish, Harrison expressed his concerns on the long-term impact of the pandemic.
“The pandemic is biggest challenge the sport has faced in the modern era although the full extent and impact of the pandemic on cricket is as yet unknown, it is already clear that it will be extremely significant,” wrote Harrison.
With its reserves going down to 11 million pounds in 2018-19 from 73 million pounds in 2015-16, a cricket-less season could make a severe impact on ECB’s balance sheet.
“We can only estimate the total financial impact on the game, which will not be clear for some time, but by way of offering an indication of the potential scale of the loss to the game, losing an entire cricket season – which is not an outlandish scenario – will cost cricket in England and Wales well in excess of 300m,” Harrison wrote.
“Our absolute priority in the face of this challenge is firstly, to ensure the public safety of our people – our staff, players and colleagues around the game, but secondly, that the cricket network remains intact, and emerges from this crisis in a state to resume our trajectory towards a bright future.”
In the letter to Irish, Harrison claimed he himself will be taking a 25 percent pay cut for at least the next three months.
Harrison is expecting the centrally contract players to take a pay cut in “these circumstances”.
“Whilst the health of the nation is under threat, the future of our sport depends on every single one of us sharing the load right now.
“In light of this, I am encouraging the PCA and all professional players to support the recommendations the first-class counties present to you next week, which may very well propose a 20% reduction in salaries for April and May, with a view to revisiting this on a monthly basis until we have navigated through the crisis.
“I am hopeful that our players are able to contribute in rising to this unprecedented challenge. If we can all pull our weight in working together and come through this, then we will not only reinforce the truly inspiring spirit of the cricket family, but we will safeguard the future of our sport and the livelihoods of everyone who works within it,” added the chief executive.