£18million boost for county game
ECB today announced an £18million programme of investment into first-class county cricket following a board meeting held at Lord's.
The Board has agreed to make loan finance of up to £1 million available to each of the 18 first-class counties following receipt of detailed business plans which must first be approved by both the ECB finance committee and the ECB Board.
At today's meeting, loan facilities were confirmed for the first 13 counties - Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire.
These loans form part of a wider business transformation plan for the domestic game which is being overseen by the ECB's new Professional Game department. The loans have been approved in return for meeting key strategic targets relating to stadia and facilities, customer relations, community programmes and business operations.
It is anticipated that business plans will be received from the other five first-class counties later in the year.
The loans represent an increased investment by ECB into the domestic game and will supplement the annual fee payments made to all 18 first-class counties each year. Last year total expenditure on the domestic game was £49.1million, £42.6 million being fee payments to the first-class counties.
ECB Chairman Giles Clarke said: “With all sports facing increased competition for resources in a tougher economic climate, it is imperative that our first-class county clubs are financially robust, boast modern, spectator-friendly facilities and can continue to act as centres of sporting excellence within their local communities.
“Today's announcement is part of a wider programme of transformation for the county game which will include the introduction of a new domestic playing schedule from 2014. The increased investment will help the first-class counties plan for the future with greater confidence and implement a programme of change which will help make our domestic game even more attractive to spectators, broadcasters and sponsors alike."
The ECB Board, following the impact of bad weather on community clubs created by the UK's second wettest year on record, also allocated an additional £420,000 to re-instate grounds most heavily impacted by the flooding.
This further award is in addition to the £104,000 awarded to nine clubs by ECB earlier in the year and the matched funding of £100,000 provided by Sport England.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “Further flooding in November 2012 severely impacted 40 of our community clubs nationwide. Those clubs need urgent financial assistance from ECB to repair the damage and today's award will help ensure that their grounds can stage cricket again from the start of next season.”