The League Executive have now reviewed the detailed rules, requirements and guidance announced by both the Government and the ECB a few days ago regarding Step 3 of the Lockdown Easing Roadmap, effective 17th May.
After careful consideration and based on the fact that there are no new easings applied to matchplay, and the easings applied to use of changing rooms and providing hospitality are of very limited benefit in practice, the Executive has decided not to change the adapted rules currently being applied to matchplay in what continues to be an ongoing Restricted Period.
This means that all matches will, for the time being, continue to be played over a reduced length of 40 overs per innings, with bowlers restricted to 12 and 8 overs respectively. This also means that Clubs are not obliged to provide cricket teas or changing facilities and should not open changing rooms where it is not safe to do so.
The reasons why the Executive has reached this decision are primarily the following:
1. As sanitising breaks continue to be required every 6 overs the length of time needed to complete a match is increased, as already experienced in the current Restricted Period 17th April to 9th May.
2. In the event of inclement weather players are not allowed to shelter in the changing rooms
3. Whilst the guidance allows the re-opening of changing facilities their use is discouraged and it is clear that most changing rooms of HCL Clubs would not be big enough to be occupied by 11 players properly socially distanced. Most would be limited to 4 -6 players and some even fewer. Furthermore most Umpires changing rooms are not big enough for two persons to be in that space, properly socially distanced.
4. Whilst the allowed opening of hospitality facilities may enable teas to be prepared and waiter served to tables, many social spaces would not be large enough to accommodate 26 persons (2 x 11 players + 2 x umpires + 2 x scorers) properly socially distanced.
Based on the restrictions placed on their use the Executive’s strong recommendation is that changing facilities should remain closed and not in use. Clubs who believe that their changing facilities can be used safely and in accordance with the Government’s and ECB’s guidance must undertake a Risk Assessment that details how that will be achieved, and submit it to the League via the Administration Secretary no later than Thursday 20th May, for review prior to their use on Saturday 22nd May.
The League make no recommendation regarding the opening of hospitality facilities and the serving of food and drinks, except to remind Clubs that these facilities must operate in accordance with the Governments regulations and guidance that includes things such as waiter/table service only, rule of 6, and appropriate social distancing between tables/groups.
Spectators are now allowed at matches subject to following rules regarding social distancing and legal gathering size limits (groups of up to 30 outdoors). Outdoors, multiple groups of 30 (with no interaction among different groups) are permitted.
The Executive will, as has been done since April, review the situation every two weeks, and remains keen for matchplay to return to normality as quickly as practically possible, so long as this can be achieved under safe and workable conditions. The Executive trusts that Clubs understand the finely balanced judgements it has to make when deciding what is safest and best for all players, officials, Clubs and spectators.