Glamorgan Cricket: County in government talks over training

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Glamorgan could be ready for return with two weeks notice - Mark Wallace

Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace says the county is in the early stages of talks with the Welsh Government over returning to training.

Welsh rules for professional sports people have not been relaxed in line with England.

"They're aware of our situation and we're having conversations with them and with the ECB," said Wallace.

Players at Glamorgan and at most of the 17 English counties are furloughed, with no professional games before July.

Although some England international players are due to resume supervised individual training on 20 May, Glamorgan are not yet at a disadvantage to their English county rivals- with the financial consideration of having players' wages paid by the government weighing heavily nearly everywhere.

"The ECB want an 18-team competition should any cricket go ahead. None of the English counties have brought players back to train yet, although they've got different guide-lines there's no-one with any advantage yet because there's no fixture list yet, so there's no panic," Wallace told BBC Sport Wales.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford says he does not want the nation's sportspeople to lose out, despite the different pace of movement between Cardiff Bay and Westminster over easing coronavirus public health regulations.

Swansea City and Cardiff City's footballers, along with Welsh Olympic hopefuls in a number of sports, could also be affected.

"If it is possible safely for Welsh sports clubs to take part in competitions that are being re-opened then our ambition will be to make sure we can play our part in making that happen," Mr Drakeford said.

"Safety and public health measures first, but if those are in place and our sports teams are able to take part, we will not want the rules in Wales to be a reason why they cannot do that."

County cricket is set to lag behind plans for the international game to resume in July, because of the level of resources devoted to getting England games on to fulfil at least part of the sport's TV contracts.

"They're going to be the priority, to get those games on, then it'll be down to see the potential of getting county cricket on as well. A domestic season is a lot of games, but there is a level (of safety) that domestic cricket can achieve," said Wallace.

The T20 Blast will be the priority when or if the county game does return in 2020.

There is also concern across the game that some players, including nearly half the Glamorgan squad, could see their current contracts end without the chance to justify a new one at a time of budget cuts.

"We do have players out of contract, it is very difficult for those guys at the moment, and we hope they get the opportunity to push on their performances this summer, and we're trying to support those guys as much as possible," said Wallace, a former Glamorgan captain and Professional Cricketers' Association representative.

Club players sidelined

He also has sympathy with club cricketers and children seeing their summer hopes of action receding in Wales, while amateurs in England can start one-on-one outdoor net practice.

"It's also about recreational and junior cricket as well, it would be brilliant to get some junior cricket on so those kids taking their first steps in the game would be able to play, also club cricketers too."

Cricket Wales, which runs the amateur game, said in a statement: "Cricket activity in Wales should, sadly, remain suspended.

"We fully share the public's desire to return to activity, however we also remain acutely mindful of our duty of care to our participants, and our responsibility to our communities and our outstanding NHS."

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