THE England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a £61 million package to help professional and recreational cricket withstand the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECB plan includes a number of measures for the entire sport, from county level to grassroots, meaning that Somerset County Cricket Club and the Somerset Cricket Board are eligible.

Local cricket clubs will also be offered support to see them through the coming months, with the grassroots game suspended until further notice.

With professional cricket delayed until at least May 28, and options for cricket beginning in June, July or August being modelled, Wednesday saw the ECB Board approve plans to expedite payments from a number of areas within its 2020-2021 planned distribution budgets.

Around £40 million will be made immediately available through:

"Early release of three months’ (May-July) county partnership distributions to First-Class Counties and County Cricket Boards; the immediate availability of two years’ facilities maintenance distribution; suspension of international staging fees for four months and waiving of international staging fees payable in 2020 if the match is not played as scheduled due to COVID-19."

The ECB statement added that "just over £20m will become available to the recreational game through a cricket club support loan scheme, grants through the “Return to Cricket” scheme and a 12-month holiday on loan repayments for recreational clubs".

Tom Harrison, ECB chief executive, said: "We would like to thank everyone within the cricket network who is working tirelessly to protect the game during this period of uncertainty.

“We understand these are challenging times and it has been our priority to provide swift and immediate support to all members of the cricket family at every level in England and Wales.

"We are fully aware that the situation with COVID-19 will continue to develop, and it will be months before the full financial fallout is made clear.

"We will continue work with all of our partners to protect the ongoing health of the entire game in the short term and beyond.”

Tuesday also saw Sport England announce a £195 million fund to "help our partners, clubs and community organisations cope with the short and long-term impact of the pandemic".

The package includes a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, to be "opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into, with grants between £300 and £10,000 available".