It’s absolutely fantastic that we can get everyone back training and playing from this week onwards and looking forward to what should be a full summer of cricket.  However, we have been given a big responsibility to ensure we do this in a safe and responsible manner, so it is important that we take every precaution to maintain the good reputation that the game has built up in the past 12 months.  Sport, and in our case cricket, will be under the spotlight as we progress along the ECB & Government Roadmaps, so we must collectively ensure we do everything we can to keep everyone and our sport safe and well.

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few key points within the latest ECB Covid-19 Guidance that we all need to be clear about.  I would hope that you have already seen the documents linked below which provide the framework of restrictions we all need to work within this summer.  As we move further through the summer, we can measure how successful we have been in keeping everyone safe, by how quickly these restrictions begin to be lifted and we return to a more normal life at our clubs.

*Please ensure your club committees, umpires, scorers, coaches, managers, players, parents and spectators have the opportunity to read these.  Everyone involved at our game MUST take personal responsibility to make this summer safe and successful.

Linked above is an editable checklist and risk assessment that I would hope ALL clubs should be working through to ensure you have a safe place for players and spectators this summer.  It would be good practice to have a nominated Covid-19 contact at your club who can 1) be a point of contact for all future alterations to restrictions, and 2) ensure your clubs are complying with the criteria in the risk assessment.

Key points that apply this summer until guidance is updated and we move to the next stage of the ECB & Government Roadmaps:

  • Spectators – The ECB have confirmed that spectators are permissible under the previously outlined exemptions and it is understood that clubs are not expected to control the wider public outside of their organised outdoor activity or hospitality.  Clubs are however expected to act responsibly in not promoting any breaches of Government guidance. However, sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. a game with a large crowd) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until step three (pending confirmation from the Government). See FAQs for futher information on spectators. 
  • Changing rooms and clubhouses (except Toilets & First Aid rooms) MUST remain closed until further notice - this was a key issue for non-compliance last season (Exception - unless the activity is a Disability Cricket match or involves a player with a disability).  
  • No cricket teas until further notice (further updates to follow throughout the summer)
  • All of the same training and playing restrictions from 2020 will remain in place for this summer until further notice (Sanitising breaks, social distancing, no saliva on the ball, track and trace etc)
  • Your club should have a clear plan for wet weather that does not compromise other important restrictions

I appreciate that this seems a little draconian, but we really must do everything we can from the very first training session or match to abide by the most recent guidance so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we are aiming for later this summer.  I hope like me, you can appreciate the importance of getting this right from the outset.  

On a more negative note, it has become necessary for the ECB to issue a series of special measures for clubs that do not comply with these restrictions this summer.  These will be available later this week for you to read through.  I sincerely hope that they are not needed, but they will be used if required.  Your leagues and cup organisers will be given them and be supported should they need to be enforced.

Finally, I wish you and your club the very best of luck for the forthcoming season and hope that you can enjoy playing and watching the game that we all love and enjoy again.  Take care and please stay safe and well this summer

Matt Theedom