20th Jan, 2021

County’s pros placed on furlough

Rob George 15th Apr, 2020

WORCESTERSHIRE’S cricketers and rugby stars are among the latest to be put on furlough as the Coronavirus crisis continues to impact on top flight sport.

Warriors, like many other businesses, have applied to join the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has been set up by the Government to support companies and protect jobs.

With Sixways in lockdown and no end in sight to the postponement of the current Premiership season, Warriors chiefs have sought to avoid redundancies and put the majority of the club’s staff – playing and non-playing – on to the scheme which will see them guaranteed 80 per cent of their salaries.

A number of staff have been identified as essential workers and they will continue to work from home while players will not be prevented from training at home.

“When rugby does resume we want to ensure normal service is restored as quickly as possible and we can help to put smiles back on the faces of our supporters, commercial partners and all visitors to Sixways,” a club spokesperson said.

County cricket chiefs have revealed they have a plan to mitigate an estimated potential impact of profitability of more than £1.1m, which for a club that in 2019 made a loss of £89,000 and has £4.3m of debt is substantial.

Pears bosses looked at five potential scenarios for this summer including the season starting on time, a delay to mid-July, a delay to mid-July playing behind closed doors, all season played behind closed doors and the season being abandoned in its entirety.

As a result, within a week of the government scheme being announced the club had furloughed 30 of its 45 staff, excluding players which was being handled centrally by the ECB working alongside the PCA.

WCCC is now operating with a skeleton staff working from home wherever possible.

Pears chairman Fanos Hira said: “We do not know in what shape cricket will return this year, but we are confident that when it does we will be ready. We are also confident we will survive this period of substantial challenge.”

The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has revealed a collective player agreement which has seen all county players agree a support package to protect the domestic game.

Discussions between the PCA, ECB and 18 first class counties has seen all parties supporting an initial two-month agreement which will see maximum reductions to player salaries and relinquishing of domestic prize money.

Pears players have now been furloughed as part of the agreement. PCA chairman and long-serving Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell praised his fellow players for their willingness to reach an agreement.

“We were due to start the County Championship season on Sunday and sadly for us all it wasn’t the case. As a group of players, we will do everything we can to ensure when cricket does return the sport is in a position to thrive.”

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