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ECB suspends professional cricket till May 28

ANI  |  Cricket 

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended professional cricket till May 28.

"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 said in a statement.

The board also approved the recommendation to delay the start of the season following discussions with the First-Class Counties, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA).

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 fans the opportunity to live broadcast action," read the ECB statement.

The board discussed all the options including the "potential for reduced versions of competitions and should the season become further truncated".

The cricketing body will meet as needed to review the position and make further decisions as the UK situation unfolds.

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison said, "During this period of deep uncertainty, it is the ECB's first priority to protect the wellbeing of everyone within the cricket family, from players to fans and colleagues across the game."

"The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces. I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together, we will make the very best of whatever length of the season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months," Harrison added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday instructed all public institutions and places of gathering to shut their doors due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, which has already affected more than 3,200 people and killed over 160.

The World Health Organisation last week declared Europe as the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, but the UK government was slow to implement measures, reportedly unwilling to exact "draconian" measures on its population.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 08:23 IST