WORCESTERSHIRE'S county cricketers will be furloughed during the coronavirus crisis.

In an update to supporters, chairman Fanos Hira laid out the brutal facts of the virus' impact and potential future impact on the club.

He said: "Over the last month, Worcestershire County Cricket Club (“WCCC”) like many other businesses and sports clubs has dealt with multiple issues.

"Despite the substantial challenges we face, we are confident we have a plan to see ourselves through. We have implemented club wide policies, uniformly accepted, impacting all staff (including players) equally, a powerful collective message in our view."

On Monday, March 16, WCCC's board looked at five potential scenarios for the coming season.

This included the season starting on time, a delay to mid-July, a delay to mid-July played behind closed doors, all season play behind closed doors and the season being abandoned in its entirety. WCCC is an Industrial and Provident Society owned by its members.

Mr Hira's statement continued: "Our provisional work indicated a potential negative impact to profitability of in excess of £1.1 million, which for a club that in 2019 made a statutory loss of £89.3k and has £4.3 million of debt is substantial.

"WCCC took immediate pre-emptive action, spoke to lenders, deferred capital payments, and raised overdraft facilities."

On March 17 a few players went into self-isolation after experiencing flu-like symptoms and the following day the club assured all staff it did not intend to enforce any unpaid temporary lay-offs or make anyone redundant in the short term.

The county then furloughed 21 staff from stadium, catering and commercial. To mitigate any financial hardship, this was topped up to ensure that each staff member furloughed would receive 90 per cent of their pay.

An additional nine coaches within cricket administration were furloughed on March 27. The only cricket staff that remained were head coach Kevin Sharp and head of science and medical Ben Davies.

Mr Hira added: "The physical and mental wellbeing of our staff is paramount, with Camilla Henderson continuing to provide full psychological support and Dr Rob Young full support for our club.

"Therefore, within a week of the government scheme being announced we had furloughed 30 of our 45 staff, excluding players, which was being handled centrally by the ECB working alongside the PCA."

These measures mean the county is now operating with a skeleton staff working from home wherever possible.

Ground staff, while adhering to government policy, continue with their work to ensure that whenever the decision is made to play, Blackfinch New Road will be ready. In the last week, after scarifying, the square has been reseeded, covered and is being regularly watered.

Mr Hira signed off his statement by wishing supporters the best for the future, saying: "We do not know in what shape cricket will return this year, but we are confident that when it does, we will be ready. We are also confident we will survive this period of substantial challenge.

"We will update you further as things hopefully become clearer in the coming months. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support, please stay safe and healthy."

March 20 saw the announcement from the England and Wales Cricket Board that the season would be delayed until at least May 28.

It remains unclear when the season will restart and which formats of the game will be played.

On April 1, the ECB announced a £61million interim package to help cricket withstand the financial impact of COVID-19 crisis. From a county perspective, this reflected funds that were principally already committed to them to July 2020, rather than necessarily new additional funding.

The only difference, at this stage, relates to the unfettered nature of maintenance payments which was a welcome assistance.

The period and payments beyond July, with the playing schedule unknown, remains uncertain.

On April 3, the decision was taken by the county following discussions with the ECB to furlough all players on the same basis as other staff.

Mr Hira's statement said this was done so all could share the impact on a consistent basis.

Worcestershire will allow one month before the season starts for the players to return, where permitted, to ensure they are ready and prepared for whatever formats are played.