European Central Bank announces schedule of three closed-door Tests against WI

Tanya Simon
June 2, 2020

The England and Wales Cricket Board says it is "extremely heartened" by the UK Government's go-ahead for professional sport to return behind closed doors.

The tour was originally scheduled to start on June 4 before the Coronavirus pandemic forced European Central Bank to change their plans. The ECB plans to host the first Test at the Rose Bowl stadium in Southampton from July 8-12, with Manchester's Old Trafford stadium hosting the second and third Test from July 16-20 and July 24-28 respectively.

The West Indies are set to arrive for their Test series on June 9, meaning they are still likely to have to quarantine for the full period, but Pakistan's squad may not have to go through the quarantine period if they remain in a biosecure environment.

The Edgbaston in Birmingham was selected as a contingency venue and will be used to stage additional training throughout July.

"Over the coming week, we will seek to understand the specific guidance from Government's medical teams so that we can provide support for cricket clubs who will be eager to see their communities safely playing in small groups". This will be the base for a three-week period before moving to the Ageas Bowl for the start of first Test. Both grounds have on-site hotels where players and officials can be closely monitored for signs of Covid-19. "These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval", he said.

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Last week the European Central Bank announced it was pushing back the start of its domestic season until August at the earliest.

Tuesday's announcement came as the European Central Bank announced its financial results for 2019/20 at a virtual annual general meeting, reporting a record turnover of £228 million - an increase of £56 million. "CWI has also received and reviewed detailed plans for players and staff to be kept in a bio-secure environment for the duration of the tour, with all matches being played behind closed doors", according to CWI.

The ECB said a decision on those matches and the women's internationals against India and South Africa would be made at a later date.

Four venues submitted an interest in staging matches by the deadline of Monday May 11, with the final recommendations for the use of The Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford later ratified by the ECB Board.

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