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ECB announces further delay to the professional cricket season

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season remains subject to ongoing advice from government and health experts, and continued consultation with all broadcast partners to determine the optimum way to fulfil fixtures both domestically and internationally. 

Sussex Members, Blast Pass Holders and Ticket Purchasers can find out more details about how the postponement of cricket until at least July 1 impacts them at the bottom of the page.

Details of a virtual member’s forum will be announced in due course for those who have any further questions.

 The ECB Board approved the following measures:

  • Professional cricket will not be played in England and Wales until at least July 1
  • Nine rounds of fixtures will be lost in the County Championship season, but blocks for red-ball cricket and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule
  • The Vitality Blast will be pushed as late in the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged. All matches previously scheduled in June will be moved later in the season
  • International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will look to be scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality IT20s and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots
  • An additional Board meeting will be scheduled next Wednesday on The Hundred, following a request to dedicate a further session to the competition

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Our role as a national governing body during a crisis of this scale requires us to carefully plan alongside cricket’s stakeholders and supporters to attempt to overcome COVID-19’s impact on this season.

“As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport –  will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole.

“That’s why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it’s safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if Government guidance permits.

“Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers optimum safety and security for all concerned. The guidance we receive from Westminster will help us shape how we deliver this.

“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play. The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a County short-form competition.

"I want to thank everyone involved in this complex and sensitive work.  There have clearly never been times like this and my colleagues at the ECB and across the game have been exemplary in this period. It has been refreshing, but not surprising, to see how cricket has come together.”

Sussex Cricket Members, Blast Pass or Ticket Holders

The ECB are working with their partners across the game to determine how best to reschedule fixtures in 2020 when it is safe to do so. Please await further advice from the ECB and Sussex Cricket as to rescheduling plans and how this impacts ticket holders.

Original ticket purchasers will be notified in by the ECB or Sussex Cricket in the event that a match is rearranged or cancelled.

Domestic

What has been the ECB’s priority in modelling a revised schedule?

The ECB are being guided by four key priorities:

  1. Public safety, health and wellbeing of players, operational staff and cricket fans;
  2. The most financially important forms of cricket for our First-Class Counties: International cricket and the Vitality Blast to help ensure the future of 18 First-Class Counties and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC);
  3. Working closely with our broadcast partners to provide as much live cricket as possible to cricket fans; and
  4. Supporting the women’s game to continue its growth journey

With professional cricket postponed till at least July 1, what impact will this have on the County Championship?

In total there were nine rounds of County Championship action scheduled up to July 1 which due to the postponement have been cancelled but blocks for red-ball and white-ball cricket will be held in a revised schedule.

What matches will be impacted by the delayed season start to July 1?

  1. The English professional domestic cricket season was scheduled to get underway on March 24 with the traditional Champion County match between holders Essex and MCC in Galle, Sri Lanka.
  2. The MCCU matches were due to commence in the first week of April while the County Championship would have started on Sunday April 12.
  3. In total there were nine rounds of County Championship action scheduled up to July 1.
  4. The Vitality Blast was due to commence on May 28 and would have had 11 group matches up until the end of June.
  5. England men’s three-match Test series against West Indies was due to start at the Kia Oval on June 5 followed by the second Test at Edgbaston on June 12 and the third Test at Lord’s commencing on June 25.
  6. Two England women’s T20Is against India were planned for June 25 and June 27 at Bristol at Taunton.

What’s happening with the Royal London Cup?

The Royal London Cup is an option that is incorporated into some of our models and our thinking. The ECB are fluid with our thoughts at this stage and, once they are in a position to do so, they will be able to confirm the revised schedule.

How can fans get refunds for the Vitality Blast given the dates have changed?

If you are a Blast Pass or ticket holder, you do not need to do anything at this stage. The ECB are working with their partners across the game to determine how best to reschedule Vitality Blast in 2020 when it is safe to do so. Please await further advice from the ECB and Sussex Cricket as to rescheduling plans and how this impacts ticket holders.

If, in response to Covid-19, a Vitality Blast match for which you have a valid ticket is cancelled, please wait for further advice from Sussex Cricket on how this impacts ticket holders.

International

When will international cricket take place?

International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will be focussed on being scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality T20Is and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots.

Will women’s international cricket still be scheduled?

International cricket, featuring England men’s and women’s teams, will be focussed on being scheduled from July until the end of September, with the West Indies Test Series and the whole women’s series against India (Vitality T20Is and Royal London ODIs) both moving from their original slots.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ECB’s announcement that professional cricket is postponed until at least 1 July, the following international fixtures at The 1st Central County Ground have been postponed and are intended to be rescheduled to a later date in the 2020 season:

England Women v India Royal London One Day International series

  • 9 July, The 1st Central County Ground, Hove

Recreational

When will recreational cricket be played?

Based on the Government’s advice, the ECB recommended the suspension of all recreational cricket on March 18. This suspension remains in place until further notice in order to keep everyone in the cricket family safe – this is our upmost priority.

The latest update from the Sussex Cricket League can be found here.

The Hundred

What is the latest with The Hundred?

The Hundred is under ongoing review and a confirmed approach will be released in due course. If you are a ticket holder, you do not need to do anything at this stage. Original ticket purchasers will be contacted in line with any future announcement about the competition.