The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that the 2020 season will be postponed until at least 28th May, 2020.
The ECB’s statement issued on Friday evening reads:
“The ECB Board has today agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least May 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“• The ECB Board has agreed that no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales before May 28.
“• Work has begun on possible revised schedules to begin in June, July or August.
“• The ECB has worked closely with the counties, PCA and MCC with the wellbeing of the cricket family the number one priority.
“• A revised schedule would prioritise delivering as much international and domestic cricket as possible
“The Board approved the recommendation to delay the start of the season following discussions with the First Class Counties, the MCC and the PCA.
“It was agreed that, given the current information available, a seven-week delay to the start of the season is the most appropriate approach.
“The ECB has begun modelling a range of options to start the season in June, July or August – with an immediate focus on options for cricket in June, including the three-Test series against West Indies, the Vitality Blast and England Women’s schedule against India.
“Close liaison with the Government will continue, with discussions on the potential of starting the season behind closed doors and giving sports fans the opportunity to live broadcast action.
“The potential for reduced versions of competitions, should the season become further truncated, will also be discussed.
“The Board will meet as needed to review the position and make further decisions as the UK situation unfolds.”
Simon Storey, Kent Cricket’s Chief Executive, said: “ECB have been working very closely with all First Class Counties to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on this summer’s cricket schedule.
“Whilst the delay to the start of the season will no doubt be disappointing to many cricket fans, we fully support the ECB’s decision.
“Our priority has to be the health and welfare of everyone who plays, watches or follows cricket and to ensure that we support Government and Public Health England’s measures to protect communities across Britain from the spread of COVID-19 virus.
“The Club’s COVID-19 Task Force have been working for some time on mitigating the financial implications of the delay.
“Although we face an incredibly difficult and complex set of challenges, we continue to be confident that by taking appropriate measures within the business and with appropriate support from key stakeholders, we will be able to navigate a route through this crisis.
“We are pursuing all options vigorously and risk mitigation measures are being put in place.
“We are working closely and collaboratively with the ECB and our fellow First-Class counties to ensure that a game-wide plan is in place to cover the various scenarios, be that a shortened season or no season at all.
“We believe that everyone in the cricket family across the UK is approaching this crisis with a desire to act in the best interests of the game’s stakeholders, at all levels.
“Clearly, these are challenging times, not only for cricket but for so many around the world and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.”