Cricket chiefs planning for full capacity from June

Senior figures in English cricket are pushing for the return of capacity crowds from next month by offering to deploy COVID-status certification.

According to a report in the Daily Mail newspaper, the sport’s working group, which features Lancashire CCC chief executive Daniel Gidney, proposes attendances of up to 30,000 fans, or half a stadium’s capacity, whichever is larger, from June 21. That is the date that the Government has indicated could see the end of social distancing rules under step 4 of its roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions.

With 30,000-capacity Lord’s the largest cricket venue in the country, the working group’s proposal would mean full houses at all English and Welsh grounds for international and domestic games.

The group of senior county cricket executives, which is liaising with the England Cricket Board (ECB) over the safe return of crowds, believes the capacity limit would mean maximum numbers inside stadiums, where behaviour even without social distancing can be regulated, but also that local transport would not be overwhelmed when larger arenas are used for other sports events.

It was reported yesterday that a group of English counties had made an offer to host the remainder of the 2021 Indian Premier League, which was suspended with immediate effect on Tuesday after a number of positive COVID-19 cases were reported among teams.

As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) grapples with the challenges of attempting to resume the season amid a worsening COVID-19 situation at home, along with accommodating it in a packed global cricket calendar, the ESPNcricinfo website reported that England is being targeted as a potential solution.

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Surrey, Warwickshire and Lancashire, which are based at Lord’s, the Kia Oval (both London), Edgbaston (Birmingham) and Emirates Old Trafford (Manchester), respectively, are said to be part of a group that has written to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) asking them to extend the invitation to the BCCI.

For more details on the planned return of capacity crowds in cricket grounds from next month, head to our sister site TheTicketingBusiness.com.