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ECB director of women’s cricket admits that men’s game ‘comes first’ if the sport is to survive

“We try to protect as much investment as possible”: ECB director of women’s cricket Clare Connor admits that re-play “comes first” if sport wants to survive the corona virus

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Clare Connor has said she will ‘be devastated’ if the female cricket is wiped out this summer by the coronavirus pandemic – but admitted that men’s game must come first if the sport is to survive the crisis.

With ECB CEO Tom Harrison warning of a £ 380 million black hole in the game’s finances if no cricket is possible, Connor – general manager of the women’s game – remains hopeful that Heather Knight’s England is still India and South Africa can beat.

But she added, “If the international women’s schedule cannot be fully met, but a large part of the men’s program can, we need to be realistic.

Women's cricket may need to sit in the back seat to survive the crisis, says ECB chief Clare Connor

Women’s cricket may need to sit in the back seat to survive the crisis, says ECB chief Clare Connor

“We are trying to protect as many investments as possible over the next five years, and that will largely depend on how much male cricket can be organized this summer.

“I’d be devastated if there wasn’t an international female cricket, but we have to go through this period.”

Connor was preparing to hand out 40 new full-time contracts to female cricketers as part of a new regional line-up of eight teams, with a 50-game tournament scheduled for September.

Connor, the general manager of women's cricket at ECB, says men's play comes first

Connor, the general manager of women's cricket at ECB, says men's play comes first

Connor, the general manager of women’s cricket at ECB, says men’s play comes first

But with The Hundred, which had replaced the popular T20 Kia Super League, already postponed, she now faces the challenge of holding on to players who may be looking elsewhere.

“We want to keep them motivated,” she said. “We don’t want to lose them to other career opportunities that may arise.

“Knowing that more women and girls were more inspired than ever this season, we are sad.”

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