Cricket faces some tough decisions ahead, says ECB chief Harrison

The ECB’s CEO Tom Harrison has warned cricket faces some tough decisions ahead as the sport looks to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Tom Harrison (right) pictured with Ashley Giles at at Old Trafford last weekTom Harrison (right) pictured with Ashley Giles at at Old Trafford last week
Tom Harrison (right) pictured with Ashley Giles at at Old Trafford last week

County cricket resumed on 1st August after partner agencies came together to get a shortened season underway.

Domestic club cricket also returned for a shorter season following Government approval.

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But Mr Harrison says the ECB will have to significantly cut it’s cost base in the coming months to ensure the sport is sustainable going forward.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left cricket facing its most significant challenge of the modern era,” he said.

“The game has already lost more than £100m, and the financial impact is likely to be £200m if there is further disruption next year, which many are expecting.

“The entire cricket network has pulled together to get us through this challenge so far and overcoming it will mean continuing to work in partnership and continuing to make tough decisions as we have done this year..

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“We must reduce the cost base across the game - and that requires the ECB to lead the way by reducing its own cost base.

“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.

“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.

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

Mr Harrison also paid tribute to the hard work of everyone who had played a part in getting cricket up and running for what was a memorable summer at international level.

He added: “Getting cricket back on this summer – at a recreational, domestic and international level, for both men and women - has been a remarkable achievement by everyone across the game.

“It has been the result of true partnership in action; across our first class counties and recreational game, from our broadcast and commercial partners and with Government and local public health agencies.

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“When the crisis first hit, the ECB put in place a range of measures to save money in the short term including furloughing staff and significant pay reductions across the organisation, in addition to a recruitment freeze. I am very proud of the work that has been done by my colleagues across the business and the sacrifices made at a time when we asked them to work harder than ever before.

“I am extremely proud of the work everyone at the ECB and the wider county, county board and club network has done this summer. In the most trying of circumstances, with uncertainty the only guarantee, we have come together to deliver a compelling summer of cricket at all levels.

“When the pressure has been on, our sport has come together and shown cricket in its best light.”

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