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Coronavirus outbreak: ECB recommends suspension of all recreational cricket

LONDON, UK- The England and Wales Cricket Board has recommended that all recreational cricket be suspended until further notice as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

The government has advised against mass gatherings in the UK, effectively cancelling all sporting events for the foreseeable future.

The national governing body has stopped short of cancelling the season and has also highlighted the role played by physical activity in people’s wellbeings, adding that steps will be taken to see what can be done to maintain “some levels of physical activity”. It also recognizes the role played by clubs in their local communities.

An ECB statement read: “Following the government’s latest advice around social distancing, it is with sadness and reluctance that we recommend that all forms of recreational cricket are now suspended.

“This extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any cricket-related activity.

“Sport plays a vital role in well being, both physically and mentally. One of our goals in the coming weeks will be to explore ways that we can support some levels of physical activity in communities – particularly at junior levels.

“Using our cricket community to support others could be one of the most important services we can offer during the difficult next few months.

“It will be critical that any decisions we do make are medically-led. And we will continue to work with the government and their advisors to ensure that we are informed by science in our decision-making. Over the coming weeks, we will work with the game to understand what support is required across the cricket community, particularly local clubs and leagues.

“We understand that countless hours of work from thousands of volunteers have already gone into getting ready for the 2020 season and we know how disappointing this will be. We are thankful for the huge role that volunteers play in local cricket, to ensure that the game remains at the heart of communities.

“We know that you and your clubs can play an important role in bringing your community together once we get past this period of time.”

Measures related to domestic and international cricket have not yet been confirmed or announced but the ECB and the 18 counties will meet on Thursday to discuss contingency plans, should the campaign be unable to begin as scheduled on April 12 with a round of County Championship fixtures.

Anything to emerge from the meeting on Thursday will have to be passed through the ECB board before being ratified. All options are reportedly being looked at, with large-scale postponements and the prospect of games being played behind closed doors among them.

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