Northern Premier Cricket League - Palace Shield Cricket Competition
Thursday 19th March, 2020
In the throes of an unprecedented public health emergency that is rapidly escalating, we understand that our clubs are facing an extremely challenging period and need some clear and firm guidance from their league executive.
We will of course do our very best but I think we all appreciate that we are in unknown territory with this virus. On Wednesday 18th March, the ECB formally suspended cricket. They have not said for how long because amidst such uncertainty it is not possible to put timelines on anything. The cancelling of GCSE and A-level examinations is a completely unprecedented measure from which we might reasonably inferthat the chances of schools and colleges returning to normal in June is negligible. The implications of this for league cricket are clear.
There is a further consideration. Cricket is a game which necessitates a ball being passed from hand to hand. Inevitably everyone who handles the ball during the game will transfer something of themselves on to the ball. We know that hand transmission is a key factor in the spread of Covid-19. We would have to be certain that this risk factor is eliminated before we could sanction a return to recreational cricket.
At this point in time, we offer the following guidance:
(ECB advice to all clubs who have All Star and Dynamos sign-ups, is pending)
A prolonged period of closure will deny our clubs crucial income streams. At the same time, they will still incur overheads and wage costs; they have perishable stocks; Sky and BT subscriptions; maintenance costs relating to the ground and the fabric of buildings.
We do not underestimate the degree of risk this poses for our clubs. We know that in many of our clubs,committees are holding emergency meetings.
The executives of the NPCL and Palace Shield will be looking toput together a supportive package of financial measures which are likely to include:
In our discussions with the LCF and with the ECB, we know that they are fully aware of the seriousness of the financial issues facing our clubs.
The LCF are looking at ways they might use the Small Grants Fund.
The ECB are exploring all contingencies and all pots of money to find ways of getting support into cash-strapped clubs.
Any club with an ECB loan is very likely to get a repayment holiday.
Ground and Squares
Observing all advice regarding social distancing we hope that clubs can find a way to carry out maintenanceand preparation work on the ground and the square. This will at least make it possible for recreational cricket to start promptly in the second half of the season, should all the other factors permit.
Government control measures may require us to retreat further and further into social isolation but please let us endeavour to stay connected. We all know that the cricketing community is a fantastic support structure. Let us keep it together and keep it strong.
We recognise that it is vital for ourselves at executive level to stay connected with clubs; there are many discussions to be had and many decisions to be made.
In turn, we urge clubs to stay connected with their players, their members, their volunteers, their junior parents.
Overseas Players – Where clubs are expecting players from overseas, please communicate with them. By the day it is becoming less and less likely that they will be able to book flights to the UK. Even if they can, they need to be advised not to do so until we have a definite start date for the season.
It is temptingto assume that the control measures and restrictions will be lifted on a given date and the following day, we will all return to normal. As the impactof the Covid-19 outbreak becomes more and more profound, this assumption may become less and less realistic. At the end of all this, we may have to invent a new ‘normal’.
In the meantime, the most important challenge facing all of us is looking after ourselves, our families and our loved ones.