Yorkshire & Worcestershire furlough players because of coronavirus

Gary Ballance and Joe Root
Yorkshire were due to start a home game against Gloucestershire on Sunday

Yorkshire and Worcestershire have become the first counties to put both players and coaches on furlough leave because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Most non-playing staff at Headingley were placed on the government job retention scheme at the end of March.

Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon contacted each player and member of staff individually after a board meeting on Friday.

Worcestershire said they have put 22 players on furlough for April.

"It was important to the club that all share the impact on a consistent basis," said a Worcestershire statement. "County cricketers are modestly paid relative to other professional sports."

A number of the other 18 first-class counties have also put non-playing employees on furlough.

The new County Championship campaign was due to start on Sunday, but first-class cricket is currently suspended until at least 28 May.

Some counties have told BBC Sport they are preparing for potentially no cricket at all to be played in 2020.

“We’re in the midst of a national crisis and cricket is secondary at this moment,” said former Yorkshire and England opening batsman Moxon.

“We feel these measures need to be taken to ensure as little damage as possible to the business.

“The players are disappointed not to be playing as they have worked hard during the winter and have been excited about the season ahead.

“However, they are all fully understanding of the decision. We hope the situation improves as quickly as possible to ensure everyone can resume some kind of normality as soon as possible.”