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The ECB approve a date of August 1 for the men’s county season to start and a decision on formats will be made in early July along with new fixtures

The England and Wales Cricket Board has given its approval for the men’s county cricket season to begin on August 1.

First class counties will decide on a men’s format at a meeting early next month and a new fixture schedule will then be published.

Kent could be in action from August
Kent could be in action from August

A commitment to play women’s cricket in 2020 has also been made by the ECB but it may differ from the planned rollout of the new women’s elite domestic structure, they say.

Eight regions are set to compete, with Kent and Surrey joining forces as the newly named South East stars.

The ECB have said planning for a 2020 season in both men’s and women’s games is subject to ongoing advice from government and medical professionals.

First class county players can return on or before July 1 and the ECB are planning for both red-ball and white-ball cricket.

ECB chief exec Tom Harrison, said: “It is a significant step for our game that we are able to approve the start of the men’s domestic season for August a and one which will be welcomed by everyone connected with county cricket.

“It follows extensive consultation between the 18 first-class counties, the professionals cricketers’ association and ECB and has only been achievable thanks to the significant hard work that continues to occur as we prepare for a domestic season unlike any the game has faced before.

“It must be stressed that the safety of our players, staff and officials has been the first priority through all discussions and government guidance will continue to shape our planning and preparation.

“Planning for the return of the women’s domestic game remains ongoing, but our commitment to women’s domestic cricket is unwavering and we look forward to sharing further news shortly.

“Our strong preference is that the women’s new elite domestic structure starts this summer and we will work hard to ensure that happens. For this to be achieved, brand new infrastructure still needs to be rolled-out, alongside imperatives we need in place when playing competitive cricket during a pandemic.

"Our first choice remains to do everything we can to start this year and build on the fantastic momentum in the women’s game. In the event that proves impossible, we will explore other options for play to enable our women’s players to enjoy competitive domestic cricket in 2020.

“We will continue to work closely with both the men’s and women’s domestic game to ensure necessary safety measures are in place to protect the wellbeing of everyone involved.”

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