County cricket avoids the ECB's cost-cutting measures

County cricket avoids the ECB’s cost-cutting measures as first-class counties are told their central handouts for 2020-21 would remain untouched amid financial uncertainty

  • County cricket is to avoid the ECB’s new austerity measures amid financial crisis 
  • But Sportsmail understands that there is a caveat to the county cricket pledge
  • Funds will only be passed on in full if the international schedule and the Hundred go ahead as planned next summer, and all TV money is recouped
  • ECB announced 62 staff will lose jobs as they face losses doubling to £200m 

County cricket is to be spared from the ECB’s new austerity measures despite the governing body slashing their own workforce by a sixth and saving 20% in wages.

The 18 first-class counties were on Tuesday given notice that their central handouts for 2020-21 would remain untouched from current annual levels – which range from £3.8million for clubs with category A grounds to £3.6million for rivals at category C venues.

Sportsmail understands there is a caveat to the pledge, with the funds only being passed on in full in the event that the international schedule and new Hundred competition go ahead as planned next summer, and all TV money is recouped.

The first-class counties were told their central handouts for 2020-21 would remain untouched

The ECB have already expedited payments until the end of January as part of their coronavirus rescue package and have moved to provide clarity to the counties as to what they can expect to receive from February 1, 2021 onwards, as several begin their financial years on October 1.

A virtual meeting of the ECB and chairmen and chief executives of the 18 first-class clubs is scheduled for next Tuesday and the governing body’s finance team will then hold talks with individual clubs to gain a picture of the challenges each faces over the next few years.

In revealing that 62 jobs within the organisation would be lost, the ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said English cricket was ‘facing its most significant challenge of the modern era,’ and warned that this year’s losses could double to £200million if next summer’s programmes were similarly hit.

‘We must reduce the cost base across the game – and that requires the ECB to lead the way by reducing its own cost base,’ Harrison said.

‘Given this new reality, if we are to safeguard cricket’s long-term future and still deliver on the growth ambitions of our Inspiring Generations strategy, it is clear the ECB will need to become a leaner and more agile organisation.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison announced 62 roles will be removed from their structure

‘Over recent weeks we have thoroughly reviewed the ECB’s structures and budgets in order to reduce central costs without compromising on our ambitions. We have now shared with colleagues our board-approved proposals, which will generate significant savings.

‘Every part of the ECB is affected by these changes, and these savings will only be possible by reducing our headcount.

‘These proposals include a 20% reduction in our workforce budget, which will equate to the removal of 62 roles from our structure – a number which is largely made up of existing headcount and a small number of vacant positions.’

Last year, ECB employee numbers surged to an all-time high 379 but they have already started to go down.

As Sportsmail reported last month, there will be no direct replacements for coaches removed from the pathway system over the past 12 months.

County cricket has been spared from the ECB’s austerity measures during these tough times

Instead, the process of seconding people from counties to work with teams below full international level will continue.

Elsewhere, some positions will become more flexible in a re-structure of a business that has already begun a consultation process with staff.

The re-structuring of the organisation comes in the first year of five in which the ECB has doubled its overall annual income to £425million.

Incoming chairman Ian Watmore last week revealed that losses for 2020 – of around £100million for the organisation and potentially up to £180million for the wider game – could be clawed back over the next four years with good husbandry.

It was forecast around the shires that handouts would be cut by between 10-25% but the decision has avoided inflicting any more pain on a domestic game in the final throes of a truncated, behind-closed-doors season.

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