Government donates $75,000 to Covid-battered Cup Match clubs
Cup Match cricket clubs Somerset and St George’s were given a total of $75,000 today to help cover the costs of the annual event.
A cheque for $25,000 was presented to St George’s Cricket Club this afternoon to help cover its Cup Match costs, while $50,000 was given earlier to Somerset Cricket Club.
David Burt, the Premier, said that $10,000 of the funds for St George’s were from the Cabinet Office with the same amount donated by Hotelco, the developer of the St Regis Bermuda.
He added that fintech insurer Relm Insurance put up the remaining $5,000.
Mr Burt explained: “Cup Match is upon us and the Government has stayed true to its commitment to support the Cup Match classic.
“Earlier today, I had the pleasure, with the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, of presenting a cheque of $50,000 to the Somerset Cricket Club, the host of this year’s event.
“That support is part of the Government’s annual grants and contributions budget and shows our tangible support to the club that will help to offset the considerable cost of hosting Bermuda’s premier sporting event.
“Usually the non-hosting club meets its expenses with the assistance of sponsors.
“However, since the global pandemic, local and community sports clubs have had a difficult time and the Government has tried to help by providing over $1 million in capital development grants to assist with facility upgrades and financial support for youth programmes, recognising the critical role that these clubs play in Bermuda.”
He added: “About ten days ago I received a request from St George’s Cricket Club for $25,000, which would allow the club to meet its own Cup Match expenses after a difficult two years.
“The timing was tight but I immediately set about trying to help in two ways.
“The first task was to look within to see how the Government could financially assist.
“The second was to identify a partner invested in the success of the St George’s community.
“I am please to say that both tasks have been completed.
“Today, I am happy to announce that $10,000 has been identified within the Cabinet Office budget and following an approach to Hotelco Bermuda, the owners of St Regis, they have matched the Government’s contribution with another $10,000.”
Mr Burt, who is also the Minister of Finance, said that the package was completed by $5,000 from Relm Insurance, a new digital assets insurance company.
He added: “Relm’s commitment to Bermuda has been seen in the hiring of several young Bermudians and today they have taken another concrete step in their support of the community.”
The Premier added: “Cup Match is for all of us and the two clubs stand on the shoulders of the Black lodges and friendly societies who came together over a century ago to organise a cricket match as part of the commemoration of the abolition of slavery.
“In supporting Somerset and St George’s, we do our part to honour and to preserve that legacy.”
Mr Burt said that the Cabinet Office portion of the money “will certainly have to be taken from another department”.
But he added: “I don’t have the specifics.”
The Premier said: “We will find the money because it’s important to make sure that we support this event.”
Mr Burt, a Somerset fan, said: “Everyone knows what team I support, but we can’t have Cup Match without both teams.”
Neil Paynter, the St George’s Cricket Club president, thanked the Premier and other organisations for their support.
He explained: “The Premier is right, the last two years have been very difficult for clubs and we know that some of our sponsors have not been able to support us as they would have in the past.
“As a club, we always want to put our best foot forward and deliver a well-fought game for our supporters.
“Players need to focus on playing cricket and we, as the executives, focus on allowing them to do that.
“St George’s is looking forward to two days of exciting cricket.
“With the support that we have received today, we can handle the behind the scenes work – work that goes on in to making Cup Match the classic event all Bermudians love and enjoy.”
Mr Paynter added that the money would help to cover expenses such as players’ uniforms, hotel accommodation and transport.
Asked about the possibilities for financial support in the years ahead, the club president said he hoped to build good relationships and "make great partnerships with many of the organisations and businesses that we have in Bermuda“.
Mr Paynter added: “I think there’s going to come a time where we’re all going to have to collectively work together.
“Many times we would traditionally go to maybe one or two sponsors, we may have to open it up and work collectively for the betterment of the game.“
Mr Burt said earlier, when he presented a cheque to Somerset Cricket Club: “Cup Match is so much more than a two-day cricket game – it is part of our culture and heritage.”
He added: “We know the clubs rely on the corporate community for sponsorship and support. However, additional funding is required.
“The Government will continue to support both clubs to recognise the historical and cultural significance of the Cup Match.”
Mr Burt commended Vashun Blanchette, the Somerset Cricket Club president, as well as club officers for their work to prepare the grounds ahead of the 2022 Annual Classic.
• UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments made by the Premier at the presentation to Somerset Cricket Club.