England’s cricketers have announced through the PCA a collective donation of £500,000 to help the sport and the wider community deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The contribution is formed of a 20 per cent pay cut taken by all of England’s centrally contracted players for the next six months.
The donation of half a million will be paid back to the England & Wales Cricket Board and selected charitable causes as per an agreement struck in talks between Test captain Joe Root, limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan and their players. The announcement was made officially by the Professional Cricketers’ Association on behalf of the Team England Player Partnership, a subset of the PCA.
England’s contracted women’s cricketers have also volunteered a reduction on their salary for three moments out of solidarity with similar cuts their coaches and backroom staff will be taking.
A number of the country's internationals have been looking to use their profiles to help where they can independently. Root has become a patron of the Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, while women's captain Heather Knight has enlisted as volunteer for the NHS. Jos Buttler is also auctioning the shirt he wore during 2019's World Cup Final.
Following Friday's announcement, Root, said: “The England players fully recognise the serious and concerning times that we are all experiencing at present. A crisis of this magnitude is a massive test for us all and our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by the Coronavirus. We will be in regular communication with the ECB over the next few weeks and months regarding how we can support the game during these challenging times.”
Knight, on behalf of England's women said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking. We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can. We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks.”
Talks among the international players to aid English cricket with its imminent financial issues occurred independently to wider talks among the ECB and the country’s first-class cricketers. Those, invariably, will require more diplomacy given the wide range of salaries throughout the county game.
It is understood counties have floated the idea of 20% cuts to their cricketers, with a number making plans to take advantage of the recently introduced COVID-19 job retention scheme whereby playing staff would be paid 80% of their salary, up to £2,500, by the government.
But agents and player representatives are angling for more of a sliding scale to ensure those on the lower end of the scale are not severely impacted by loss of earnings. The PCA received a collective recommendation from the 18 counties on Wednesday.
This follows Tuesday’s announcement that the ECB has made £40m available immediately to the 18 counties, with a further £20m to the recreational game in grants and loans. The £40m has come from within the game in the form of scheduled payments brought forward to be available immediately.
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