Coronavirus wrap: First-class counties boosted by £40million ECB funding package

By PA Sport Staff

First-class counties will share in a £40million funding boost as the England and Wales Cricket Board seeks to support the professional and recreational game during the coronavirus crisis.

The 18 counties, county cricket boards and the MCC will receive their payment on Wednesday while an additional £20million in interest-free loans and grants will take the full ECB rescue package to £61million.

Other measures have been introduced, including promised payments being brought forward and previous restrictions of spending removed to help mitigate the delay and possible cancellation of the season.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “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.

“We are fully aware that the situation with COVID-19 will continue to develop,
and it will be months before the full financial fall-out is made clear. We will
continue work with all of our partners to protect the ongoing health of the
entire game in the short term and beyond.”


Tottenham and Norwich have become the latest Premier League clubs to announce they have furloughed members of their non-playing staff.

Spurs will reduce the wages of 550 staff members by 20 per cent and chairman Daniel Levy said: “The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future.

“Our sponsors will be concerned about their businesses and our media partners have no certainty when we may play games again or whether we will be allowed to play in front of our fans.

“(On Monday), having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20% utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme.”

Norwich will top up the wages of the non-playing staff they have furloughed in order to ensure staff receive their full salary.

A Norwich statement read: “Owing to the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Norwich City Football Club will begin the process of furloughing members of its staff who are unable to work at this time.

“Under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the furloughing of staff will safeguard future jobs and help sustain the club throughout this period.”

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has agreed to have 25 per cent of his salary deferred (Jane Barlow/PA)

Meanwhile, the Scottish Rugby Union has acted by announcing deferrals of 25 per cent for head coach Gregor Townsend, his counterparts at Glasgow and Edinburgh Dave Rennie and Richard Cockerill, and performance director Jim Mallinder.

SRU chief executive Dodson – who was paid a total of £933,000 in wages and bonuses last year to make him the sport’s highest paid administrator – will defer 30 per cent of the payments he is due from April 1 through to September 1.

Premier League side Burnley are making Turf Moor available to the NHS in case extra hospital capacity is needed and have promised to issue free tickets to hospital staff for future games.

Parts of the The Clarets’ home, starting with the Elite Training Centre adjacent to the stadium, will be opened to the East Lancashire Hospital Trust.

In addition, the club will be following Brighton’s lead in offering free tickets for health care staff for future matches to “recognise and reward the contribution of NHS workers in our region”.

The National League has announced the indefinite suspension of its three
divisions and says it is “obtaining specialist legal advice” with a view to how best to conclude the 2019/20 season.

German Football League chief executive Christian Seifert has reiterated the goal of finishing the Bundesliga season by June 30, but warned games could be played behind closed doors for the rest of the year.

The DFL has agreed to extend the suspension of top flight and 2.Bundesliga games until April 30, and has begun to look at ways games could be played with the bare minimum number of people in attendance.

Meanwhile the head of global football players’ union FIFPRO has described as “frankly incomprehensible” the fact that matches in the Belarus Premier Division are continuing to be played, despite the country announcing its first coronavirus-related death on Tuesday.

Rugby Australia has stood down 75 per cent of its workforce and is to impose salary reductions on its Wallabies after forecasting losses of up $60million because of the pandemic.

Three-quarters of the governing body’s staff will not be working for the next three months from April 1 and those remaining have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours.

Australia rugby players are facing pay cuts (David Davies/PA)

RA chief executive Raelene Castle, who has taken a 50 per cent salary reduction, says the cuts will now be extended to the Wallabies.

“We will work closely with RUPA to reach an agreement which is appropriate given this unprecedented situation,” Castle said.

Former French Open doubles champion and television commentator Patrick McEnroe confirmed he has tested positive for coronavirus, but added he had “been able to fight through it”.