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Coronavirus latest: ECB to unveil emergency financial package

The England and Wales Cricket Board is preparing to unveil an emergency financial package to support the game.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is preparing to unveil an emergency financial package to support the game during the costly delay to the season – but pay cuts for centrally contracted players are not being discussed.

The postponement of the 2020 campaign is set to place a huge strain on the sport's fragile finances, with no cricket before May 28 and potentially well beyond that.

The ECB spent much of last week in talks with several key stakeholders – including the 18 first-class counties, the Professional Cricketers' Association and broadcasters – to map out measures which could be taken to keep the game afloat at a time when the usual summer revenue taps have run dry.

An action plan is likely to be delivered pending board approval early next week but the bumper deals commanded by England's top all-format players such as Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will not be targeted.

Ben Stokes File Photo
The bumper deals commanded by players such as Ben Stokes are unlikely to be targeted (PA)

They earn in the region of £1million from their ECB contracts, with red or white-ball specialists on a sliding pay scale. With savings being sought across the board it is not impossible they will end up on reduced terms but it is understood any such move would have to be a voluntary one considering the terms of their agreements.

Instead the ECB is likely to use its cash reserves – which have slipped considerably in recent years to around £11million – and offer support for clubs as they seek to access government schemes.

The eventual funding package is due to cover the recreational game as well the county system, with the ECB particularly eager to protect grassroots cricket as part of its promise to grow the game in the wider community.

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Alastair Cook pictured in September 2018
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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