ECB's USD 3 million loan to Cricket West Indies (CWI) was more of a helping hand in the times of COVID-19 pandemic and not a condition to tour England, the Caribbean board's president Ricky Skerritt has insisted. The three Tests between hosts England and the West Indies next month will mark the resumption of international cricket, which was suspended in March in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The West Indies had already arrived in the UK for the series starting July 8. The series, which is subject to final approval of the UK government, will be played in a 'bio-secure' environment. Speaking to ESPNcricindo, Skerritt said the ECB loan, which also became the subject of an ICC inquiry, had nothing to do with CWI's decision to send its players to England.
"It was just a matter of when the tour would take place and if the ECB could assure the CWI medical experts that the health risk would be minimal to ensure the safety of our players and staff," Skerritt said on Friday.
"Money had nothing to do with our final decision to make this tour. Holding out a hand for a pay-off is not the way CWI does business."
With the pandemic worsening the financial condition of CWI, it had also approached the ICC in April for a loan but was eventually bailed out by the ECB. "We needed cash urgently.The communication (with ICC) was beginning to look like it would take quite long to be approved and CWI had no other reliable source of cash at that time.
"CWI asked ECB if they could make the advance instead, with the ICC providing the security. ECB agreed on the basis that ICC would then pay the advance back directly in July," Skerritt said.
"ICC Finance officials were always fully aware of the transparent arrangements and soon became a legal party to the loan agreement," added Skerritt.
He also denied that the loan meant CWI was backing outgoing ECB chief Colin Graves for ICC's chairmanship.