England news May 9, 2013

ECB £96m grant eases financial woes

ESPNcricinfo staff

The ECB will invest £96m in community cricket in the next four years after reaching agreement with the ECB's Recreational Assembly, the body responsible for the non-professional game.

The announcement will bring comfort to recreational clubs which are facing some of the toughest financial conditions ever known.

The Inland Revenue is investigating tax affairs at several leading amateur clubs, stretching back up to a decade. Clubs are also suffering rent and rate increases and a devastating effect on fund-raising and sponsorship because of a stagnant economy, falling living standards and the precarious state of many businesses.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, said that the financial support was particularly important in view of the impact of the 2-12 summer, one of the wettest on record.

Clarke said: "There is no doubt that we have faced challenges in the last year and in particular the awful weather of 2012 which severely damaged our facilities and club cricket.

"I have been amazed and delighted at the number of clubs that could continue playing through such terrible conditions and, in the first class game, the amount of cricket that was staged is a testimony to the decision to invest in such effective drainage systems.

"ECB and Sport England have provided emergency funding but we know that it will take a number of years for some clubs to recover from last year's extreme weather."

Comments have now been closed for this article