The ECB welcomes the Government’s decision to permit outdoor grassroots cricket to return in time for the start of the 2021 season from 29th March. Cricket plays an important role in many people’s lives and helps to maintain positive mental and physical wellbeing. We are working with Sport England and the Government on each step of the Government’s Roadmap. We will issue further guidance shortly on what each step of the roadmap means for the game to support players, teams, clubs, coaches and umpires to prepare in time for 29th March.
“We continue to work with Sport Wales and the Welsh Government on the safe return of recreational cricket as soon as possible in Wales.”
The Government’s roadmap also confirmed that school sport and after-school clubs can resume from 8th March. As part of this, activities such as cricket that can help pupils to be physically active while encouraging physical distancing are encouraged.
The Department for Education has published guidance to support the resumption of physical activity in schools, and coaches, teachers and venues should be aware of the following points:
- Each school has the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided
- Pupils should be kept in consistent groups, with equipment cleaned between use by individual groups
- Outdoor sports should be prioritised where possible, and large indoor spaces used where it is not
- External facilities can be used
- Competition between different schools should not take place until wider grassroots sport for under 18s is permitted
- Schools can work with external coaches, clubs and organisations for curricular and extra-curricular activities, but must be satisfied that it is safe to do so
- Further details on the guidelines around provision of activity for after-school clubs will be provided shortly
“Cricket has a huge part to play in helping the country back on its feet and we will work in partnership with the Government to achieve that.”
A Reminder of the Current Lockdown Rules
8 January 2021
Please see below for information about a Covid-19 update on cricket in England and Wales, financial support from the Government, ECB funding for cricket clubs, Sport England funding for clubs and Sport Wales funding for clubs.
Covid-19 update on cricket in England and Wales
This statement applies to changes in England following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January of new national lockdown restrictions.
Wales continues to remain in a national lockdown since 20 December with all cricket activity suspended.
In England, ECB can confirm that unfortunately all indoor and outdoor privately owned cricket facilities will now need to close for all but elite cricket activity and disability cricket outdoors.
Cricket clubs in public open spaces such as parks can continue to provide outdoor spaces for individual permitted activity.
The Government has confirmed that:
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
- by yourself
- with the people you live with
- with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
- in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
- or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
Public outdoor places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- the grounds of a heritage site
Any public outdoor place used for permitted individual cricket exercise activity should be suitable and safe for the type of cricket activity taking place. You must ensure that you have sought and gained permission to use facilities in a public open space and that it is safe to do so. If a club or local authority have closed cricket facilities within a public open space they should not be used.
There is a risk that during the winter both natural turf cricket squares and non-turf surfaces can be damaged when wet, frozen or snow-covered. These conditions also increase injury risk to participants.
Furthermore, essential safety equipment such as netting may have been removed. Therefore, facilities should not be used unless they are safe and will not be damaged. Where cricket can take place, adequate measures must be taken to keep warm and minimise injury risk, including to other members of the public sharing the open space. You should be considerate to other users of the public open space.
You can also continue to go to work if your work cannot be undertaken from home. So people employed or volunteering to work on grounds maintenance over the winter can continue to do so subject to suitable COVID risk assessment and control measures being in place. Further information on winter maintenance of cricket grounds under COVID can be found on the Grounds Management Association website.
Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country and as we have done throughout the pandemic, the health and wellbeing of everyone in the cricket family remains our number one priority. For the time being, the message from Government is to stay home unless necessary.
Cricket as we know is a naturally socially distanced sport that is safe to play and gives people of all ages the opportunity to exercise with friends or relatives. We know how important cricket is for people’s physical and mental health and we will continue to liaise with the Government for us to come back as soon as possible.
We know that this is incredibly disappointing and frustrating news for all involved with the game, as well as presenting further significant financial challenges. Further information on current financial support available from Government this week. and the ECB will also continue to engage with Government to help ensure that the cricket community is supported through the coming weeks and months.
The Government has confirmed that elite sport is able to continue in line with the strict protocols and measures that are in place for it.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is also allowed to continue, and we will provide further detail here on this once we have information from Government.
The Government has advised that this guidance should be followed immediately, and will be updating the law to reflect the new rules.
For England, we understand there will be a review of the restrictions on 15 February. For Wales, we understand there will be a review of the restrictions on 29 January.
Financial Support from Government
Following the announcement of new national restrictions, the Government has announced new one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England to help them through to the spring.
The grants will be provided as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
The new one-off grants are in additions to existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.
Grants are to be delivered via local authorities, who will be the best initial point of contact for further information.
The following support is also available from Government for businesses impacted by the national restrictions:
- Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme
- Self Employed Income Support Scheme
- Financial support for businesses
More detail on support will be shared as it becomes available.
In Wales, you should regularly check the Business Wales website for further details about grants and available business support.
ECB Funding for Cricket Clubs
ECB emergency support programmes, including Return to Cricket Grants and Emergency Loans, remain open to Clubs and Leagues. The closing date for Return to Cricket Grants has been extended to March and will be kept under review. Further details can be found here.
Sport England Funding For Cricket Clubs
Sport England have reopened their £16.5 million Return to Play: Small Grants fund to refocus on helping groups, clubs and people who deliver sport and physical activity through the additional challenges that this period of national restrictions will bring. They have also made important changes to the criteria to ensure they are giving the right help at this time.
Separately, Sport England are also working closely with Government on a package of support for sports, following the £100m of government support to leisure operators.
To find out more about the Sport England funding options and how to apply, visit the Sport England Return to Play Fund page.
Sport Wales Funding For Cricket Clubs
The Be Active Fund remains open for applications for the following purposes:
To help protect clubs and community organisations or groups that are at immediate financial risk as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This grant is intended to help organisations that are unable to meet their financial obligations because of Covid-19. For example, to cover fixed costs (e.g. rent and utility) that are no longer supported with revenue.
Protect grants of £300-£5,000 are available for emergency support
To help prepare clubs and community organisations in direct response to Covid-19.
This grant is designed to fund elements and items that are essential for a return to play.
Prepare grants of £300-£50,000 are available.
To help progress sport and activity to the next step and support long-term sustainability.
This grant is intended to help clubs and community organisations:
- Tackle inequality
- Create long-term solutions to be more sustainable
- Take innovative approaches
Grants of £300 – £50,000 are available.
Further details about the application process can be found here.