Officials at the English and Wales Cricket Board are said to be deeply frustrated by recent government guidelines as they continue to seek ways of cancelling the upcoming Hundred tournament.
With only a matter of weeks left before the opening game at The Kia Oval, sources close to the governing body have spoken of “exasperation” and “despair” as all attempts to bring the competition to a close have been met with obstacles.
ECB’s Patrick Frivell, Director of Project Recycling summed up the mood when asked about the situation at yesterday’s cancellation conference “It’s as though we’re caught in a maze” he explained. “whichever way we turn, we appear to run into a brick wall”. “We’ve done everything we can to ensure this competition is a disaster but to no avail” he continued. “I and the rest of the management team successfully devised an unwanted and unnecessary concept, achieved an incredible overspend on the budget, ignored all possible international research and engaged in some extraordinarily awful marketing messaging and, just as we were confident our efforts would be rewarded with a calamitous and costly competition, we’ve been scuppered by the Government!”
Internal investigations appear to have revealed that the ECB’s tremendously low sales for the contest appear to be the root of the problem.
With senior executives hopeful the tournament could be quietly postponed and restaged in 2021 under the new branding ‘The Twenty20 Blast’, current sales for the matches do not exceed government restrictions for gatherings of “groups of two or more” and thus any cancellation would not be covered by the force majeure clause in their agreements with the venues and broadcasters.
Sources close to the emergency meetings suggest that the ECB are currently looking at a compulsory attendance scheme for the player’s friends and family and all venue administration staff in an effort to boost numbers over the required threshold. It is also rumoured that the governing body is to apply for financial assistance in the form of a grant from the government’s ‘social distancing at sporting venues’ achievement fund.
More to follow on this story as information develops