Statement from the Club Chairman and CEO
4 May 2020
Dear Members and Supporters,
We hope this message still finds you well during this particularly difficult period. Our thoughts remain with you and your loved ones at this difficult time.
We wanted to once again write to you with an update on how the Club is faring in these challenging times.
As you would expect, there remains a lot of uncertainty across a number of areas which are fundamental to what we do as a Club, not least what our fixtures will look like!
For the time being, the Bristol County Ground remains closed with the exception of the excellent work being done by Head Groundsman Sean (who lives on site) and the odd necessary visit from a small number of staff members.
Despite the disruption, our on-site gym, BS7 (www.bs7gym.co.uk) is at the forefront of keeping people fit and active during this time, with regular and free live streamed classes on their Facebook page - here - we’d encourage you all to take a look.
Similarly, our communications team have been working hard to keep the main Club website and social media channels up to date. There is some excellent content on there and I know many of you have been engaging with some very fun, close-fought and often contentious quizzes and polls.
We are sure many of you have seen the ECB statement confirming no professional cricket will be played before 1 July. This is a position that we entirely support as a Club and we are working very closely with the ECB and other partners to best understand how we can deliver cricket with the highest standards of spectator and player safety when the season does get underway.
The postponement of The Hundred tournament till 2021 means we will no longer be hosting the two “Welsh Fire” games scheduled to come to Bristol but we look forward to supporting the tournament and the “Fire” next year.
One of the potential impacts of the postponement of The Hundred is linked to our Club finances. ECB monies related to broadcast rights will quite possibly suffer without the new tournament and whilst the ECB are doing all they can to support the game and its counties there is a chance this pain may come down to the County Network and us as an individual Club. We do, however, remain in a robust position to weather this storm but with the playing and watching of cricket likely to be different from what we’re used to for some time to come. We must be conscious that our revenue streams will likely drop significantly well into 2021 before they return to normal.
Most of our staff and playing squads will remain on furlough leave until we understand what the fixtures look like. Clearly the fixtures will be key to devising things such as training programmes and allowing us time to finish off some of the works around the ground that we started earlier in the year – more on those later this week.
In order to protect our finances and the Club as best we can we have had to sadly terminate our 2020 season contracts with our three overseas players Cheteshwar Pujara, Qais Ahmad and AJ Tye who was due to join the team later in the Summer. We know how excited we all were at the prospect of seeing both new and returning faces this year and we’re very sorry that this won’t be possible. The delay to the season, the postponement of The Hundred and the later start of the T20 Blast as well as the aforementioned financial pressures meant it just wasn’t feasible to “bring them over” in 2020. We would like to thank all three of them for their support and understanding.
Despite some of the very obvious challenges of working remotely and the times we’re living through, the mood at the Club remains hugely positive. We are very fortunate to be working in support of something we all care deeply about and that is felt right across the Club. The Executive Board continues to meet and John Hollingdale as Chairman and David Jones as Deputy Chairman are in contact with Chief Executive Will Brown and the executive team regularly over the course of every week.
We’ve been encouraged by Government’s efforts to get sport back up and running again and we are certainly hopeful of some cricket before the end of the season. Sport and particularly cricket for so many of us is more than just 22 players but a social event, a chance to unify communities in a shared passion and something that we have all enjoyed suffering the highs and lows of. We might be in a low now but the highs will come again.
Please do stay in touch with us all, we love to hear from you. Stay safe.
With our best wishes,
John and Will