Cricket to get bulk of £300m Budget handout as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces financial support measures for sport

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce £300m sports recovery package, with cricket receiving a large percentage; cricket fans are due to return to grounds this summer after last season was played behind closed doors; other sports such as tennis and horse racing will also benefit

Cricket is in line to receive a significant chunk of a £300m summer sports recovery package that the Chancellor is expected to announce at this week’s Budget.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, which revealed last September that the coronavirus pandemic had already cost the sport more than £100m, with the overall financial impact likely to be double that amount, welcomed the support, describing it as “a lifeline for parts of the game”.

The LV= Insurance County Championship gets under way in April, more than a month before the earliest date limited numbers of fans might be able to return to sporting venues under the Government’s easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “As a huge cricket fan I know there’s nothing that says summer more than watching your favourite team.

“I can’t wait for sports grounds to be filled with fans with atmosphere again – this £300m cash boost will help make that a reality.”

Other support sports such as tennis and horse racing are also set to benefit from the recovery package.

Details on how the money will be distributed, how organisations can apply and timeframes are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Government originally announced a £300m sport winter survival package in November last year.

An ECB spokesperson said: “We welcome the Government’s intention to extend the support given to winter sports so that cricket and other summer sports are given a financial safety net and are able to bid as well.

“Playing behind closed doors for all of last season has already had a severe financial impact on cricket and that will continue this year until full crowds are able to return, while the recreational game has also suffered financially.

“This support could be a lifeline for parts of the game and we look forward to seeing the full details of how this funding will be distributed and how organisations can apply.”

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