England face soaring costs to get West Indies series started | Sport

England face a mounting bill to get the Test series against West Indies under way in July, with the need to charter private flights for the tourists and cover the cost of up to 15 additional squad players.

As the recipient of all broadcast revenues the home board for an international series will, in normal times, pay for the away team’s travel and accommodation up to a set number of people – roughly 25 players and support staff – as well as providing tour fees and individual daily expenses allowances.

This time West Indies need a squad of 25-30 players for what is planned to be seven weeks in the UK, including four weeks of quarantine and training before the first Test on 8 July.

Johnny Grave, the West Indies chief executive, told Sky Sports they will draw on players from seven or eight islands and it is likely chartered planes will be needed to assemble on one of them before the final departure, again via private plane. These journeys alone are estimated to cost £400,000.
The breakdown of the bill makes up part of the negotiations between the two boards but, along with the additional cost of creating biosecure conditions, it appears a price worth paying for the England and Wales Cricket Board given each Test is estimated to be worth £20m in broadcast revenue.

Like England, West Indies intend to give their players the option to miss the series if they are not comfortable with the provisions, with Grave outlining how the decision is viewed from across the Atlantic.

“Just in terms of sheer numbers of deaths in the UK, obviously over 30,000 people is an enormous number,” he said. “Here in the Caribbean, for people who are based here and have lived most of their lives on the smaller islands, you are talking about 40-50% of the total populations.

“It is a very different mindset here in terms of going to what is seen as one of the eyes of the storm of this virus.”

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