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Clubs get rate-relief finance boost

The England and Wales Cricket Board has won a significant political victory on behalf of the 8,000 recreational cricket clubs which, in total, will save club cricket millions of pounds per year.

In the future Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) will be able to receive mandatory relief of 80 per cent on the payment of their rates - and this could be increased to 100 per cent at the discretion of local authorities.

The move will save grassroots cricket at least £5m per year, and perhaps as much as £12m annually, allowing more money to be spent on upgrading facilities or developing youth sections.

John Read, ECB's director of corporate affairs, has been a key figure in the three-year political lobbying campaign to try and convince the Government of the crucial importance of sports clubs in helping to provide grassroots sporting opportunities.

"Working alongside the other major sports governing bodies, we have constantly told Government that many amateur sports clubs face severe financial problems that threaten their existence,” he said.

“Indeed 40,000 clubs have 'disappeared' in the past four years, leaving 110,000 in existence.

"The single biggest financial burden most cricket clubs face is having to pay rates - on average, £5,000 per annum.

“We argued that it is inequitable and anomalous for voluntary sports clubs to be taxed in the same way as businesses and that clubs should be awarded 80 per cent mandatory rate relief, the same as charities get, as opposed to the arbitrary discretionary system that currently operates.

"We are delighted that we have finally won our long-fought battle, which will provide huge benefits to all amateur sports clubs, including thousands of cricket clubs."

It was finally on Thursday September 4 that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced that they would introduce a government amendment giving 80 per cent mandatory rate relief to amateur sports clubs who register with the Inland Revenue.

To register as a CASC and be eligible for 80 per cent mandatory rate relief, clubs need to contact the Inland Revenue on 0131 777 4147.