The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-08-06

Sport : 11 : 3

Sport

3 The Daily Telegraph Thursday 6 August 2020 ** ECB to introduce savage cuts to fight £182m losses Chance two By Nick Hoult English cricket is to embark on a huge cost-cutting exercise to cover losses this summer of up to £182 million. The 18 counties and county boards were told at a meeting with the England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday to expect a slew of money-saving measures over the next few weeks to cover the deficit caused by playing all games behind closed doors this summer. understand­s that every area of the game will be affected by the cuts, with around 25 per cent of jobs to be lost at the ECB alone, and savings expected to be made at the academy in Loughborou­gh and on the Hundred. Current losses stand at £106million, but could rise to £182million if Australia do not tour England next month for six white-ball matches, and if ticket sales for the 2021 season are put on hold. The ECB will work with each county to identify cost savings. The counties will be concerned for their annual £1.5million share dividend from the ECB, while county boards can also expect cuts. England’s central contracts will be reviewed, along with costs incurred on tours and Lions pathways programmes. Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, told a government committee in May that the game was facing its “most significan­t financial challenge” and warned losses could eventually reach £380 million. The tours by West Indies and Pakistan have pulled English cricket back from the brink, but losses remain substantia­l because of the Hundred’s postponeme­nt, loss of match-day income, hospitalit­y revenue and broadcast shortfalls in terms of overseas rights. Sponsorshi­p has also been hit, with the Test series this summer the first since 1968 not to have a title sponsor. The board has lost income from its participat­ion programmes and incurred heavy costs to create biosecure arrangemen­ts for the West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan matches. There have also been emergency payments to the club game and the counties have been forwarded all money they were due up until January next year. The ECB’s income pre-Covid was around £273million, all of which is invested back in the game. The recreation­al game and counties were due to receive £118million, £38million was to go on grass-roots projects, £38million on England men, women and disability teams, £39million to launch and grow the Hundred and the final £40 million to run the ECB. All budgets will now be squeezed as the board slims down its operation, with much uncertaint­y over next year and whether the game will be able to bounce back with full houses in 2021, a summer when India are due to tour England. The ECB remains committed to the Hundred despite the cost of setting it up. Harrison told MPs in May: “We will put even more effort into the Hundred, because I think cricket will need to pull every lever to ensure cricket remains relevant.” The Daily Telegraph Heads you win Hosts make novel use of the rain break 1 2 3 4

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