ECB reports record participation figures and a £21.5m pre-tax profit

The England and Wales Cricket Board revealed that 14 million people participated in the sport in 2021. The governing body also reported a healthy pre-tax profit.

The ECB's annual report revealed good news for the organisation, which needed a strong year after suffering a loss of £16million during the Covid-affected 2020/21 campaign. 

Overall turnover for the governing body increased by over a hundred million to a total of £303million. There was also enough surplus to strengthen the ECB's cash reserves, which took a considerable hit during the pandemic.

From a high of £70million in 2016, the reserves plummeted to just £2.2million last year. Now, that figure stands at a much healthier £22.9million.

The ECB has committed funding of £25million over the next five years to promote equity, diversity and inclusion following the height of last November's racism crisis.

Another headline figure for the organisation is the 14million people who played, attended or followed cricket over the past 12 months. That is an increase of three million compared to 2019.

According to the annual report, a total of 1.4million children played cricket, including the highest ever number of girls which is said to be 34%.

Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison, who is the outgoing ECB chief executive after announcing his departure on Tuesday, claimed the numbers underline progress.

He said: "When we launched 'Inspiring Generations' two and a half years ago, our ambition was to make cricket a game for everyone. It is an ambitious plan to make our game mean more to more people, and the whole game is working in partnership to deliver it.

"With a record 14m playing, attending or following our game, it shows the investment we have been able to make in cricket is working. It is also testament to the hard work of so many people in getting through the pandemic that we have been able to bounce back so strongly as a sport.

"The last 12 months have underlined the importance of what we are trying to achieve, and also demonstrated how much further we need to go to deliver change more quickly.

"Meaningful and systemic change takes time, but we are already making progress on that difficult journey. This report shines a light on some of the work that is already making a difference."

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