Friday 3 July, 2020

Coronavirus: The Hundred postponed until 2021

The Hundred launch.

The Hundred launch.

The inaugural Hundred season has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis.

July 17 was due to be the start date for the men's tournament, made up of eight franchises, with the women's Hundred beginning five days later.

Doubts were raised over the future of the competition before a ball had been bowled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Thursday it will get under way next year.

The ECB said issues such as social-distancing measures, global travel restrictions and the likelihood of games being played behind closed doors had to be taken into account.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer.

"Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won't get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.

"As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred.

"Our survival as a game, long-term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket's growing fan base. That need has not gone anyway, if anything, it is now more critical.

"The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First-Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women's game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.

"The Hundred is an important element of the game's Inspiring Generations strategy, which has been debated and agreed upon across the whole game. While financially, our plans may be impacted, our ambition, 'to inspire a generation' should in no way be diluted.

"We would like to thank our broadcast partners, for their extraordinary commitment and support to get The Hundred to this point and our commercial partners for their ongoing support. We very much look forward to working with them as we build to the 2021 launch."

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