England’s centrally-contracted men’s players have donated £500,000 to the ECB and selected good causes, while the England women’s squad has volunteered salary reductions for the months of April, May and June, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the implications for the finances of English cricket.
The move had been hinted at in recent days by England’s senior players, among them Eoin Morgan, the men’s white-ball captain, after it was revealed by ESPNcricinfo that an initial request from Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, for a 20 percent voluntary reduction had fallen on deaf ears with the players’ representatives at the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
While the PCA themselves had indicated in a press release earlier in the week that they were seeking a “game-wide” solution to the issue of player wages, it would appear that the players have now taken the matter into their own hands, following criticism of their apparent inaction at a time when many county and ECB employees have been accepting pay cuts or being furloughed for the season.
“Following a meeting today of all of the England men’s centrally contracted cricketers, the players have agreed to make an initial donation of £0.5m to the ECB and to selected good causes,” read a statement from the players. “The precise details of the charitable donation will be decided over the next week by the players.
“This contribution is the equivalent of all of the England centrally contracted players taking a 20% reduction in their monthly retainers for the next three months.
“The players will continue to discuss with the ECB the challenging situation faced by the game and society as a whole and will consider how best to support the ECB and both the cricketing and wider community going forward.
Heather Knight, England women’s captain, spoke on behalf of her squad after accepting a three-month salary reduction in line with their coaches and support staff.
“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.”
The players’ decision comes after many individuals in both the men’s and women’s squads had made separate contributions to initiatives to combat the spread of COVID-19. Jos Buttler is currently auctioning the shirt that he wore for England’s victory in last summer’s World Cup final, while Sam Curran has launched a fundraiser for NHS staff. Knight, meanwhile, has put herself forward as an NHS volunteer.