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ECB announces record funding

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The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced a £30million investment in facilities and in club cricket, the most significant injection of funding ever in cricket in England and Wales.

In January 2008 the board approved the five-year strategy subject to detailed plans for the implementation of each section of the strategy to commence in 2008.

At their meeting at Loughborough on January 23, 2008 the plan also received the unanimous support of the first-class counties.

Incorporated within the finance strategy are the following projects:

  • £14 million of ECB grant aid to 2,000 community clubs
  • A 50 per cent subsidy to 10,000 Level 1 and 2 coaches qualifying through Level 1 and 2 courses and investment in conversion courses to Level 3 and 4
  • A doubling of interest-free loans to community clubs to £10m
  • £9m in grants for international standard floodlighting at all county headquarter grounds
  • £6m for installation of Lord's style drainage at all international venues with subsequent roll-out to all counties
  • Coaching contracts for England women’s team players to support Chance to Shine and county board initiatives.
  • A doubling of Chance to Shine funding to enhance cricket in schools amounting to a total value of £5m
  • £5m for county venues to achieve model status in each category of the ECB facility plan by 2011
  • Differential fee payments to category C venues
  • £1m capital investment in the National Performance Centre at Loughborough to maintain world leading status
  • Preferential loans to category A and B venues to leverage further capital investment in world class venues
  • Annual scholarships to 36 young English cricketers to benefit from playing in overseas conditions
  • £1m to support county board operations
  • Enhanced performance-related pay including rewards for crowd management

In May 2005 the ECB launched cricket’s strategic plan Building Partnerships but by the close of 2006 the ECB board concluded that the financial objectives set within Building Partnerships for the board’s reserves were two years ahead of plan.

As a result the board authorised the ECB executive to prepare an enhanced investment strategy to benefit all areas of the sport based on an independent objective review of the sports finances conducted by KPMG.

The KPMG report was presented in October 2007 and concluded that there was a need for enhanced capital investment in facilities at all levels of the game and that there was no financial benefit accruing to venues from the staging of major matches.

The five-year financial strategy follows consultation with the Recreational Assembly, county chief executives and county chairmen, and David Collier, the ECB chief executive, presented the strategy to the board in December 2007.

The five-year financial strategy embraced and co-ordinated a number of related studies:

1. The independent objective review of cricket’s finances conducted by KPMG

2. A review of the first year of operation of the Major Match Group

3. A survey conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys concerning domestic cricket

4. Team salary payments

5. The investment required to invest in venues to deliver model status

6. The England Review

7. 2007–11 financial projections

8. Review of performance-related fee payments

9. The 2009 ICC Twenty20 Championships

10. Memorandum of Understanding with stakeholders

David Collier

David Collier underlined the scale of the ECB investment

In introducing the five-year financial strategy, Collier commented: “Building Partnerships has proven to be a robust and successful strategy for the development of cricket at all levels.

“In 2007 participation levels grew by a remarkable 27 per cent overall and 45 per cent in the women’s game. At the same time Chance to Shine has captured the imagination of schools and children throughout the country.

“However, the KPMG report clearly identified that investment in facilities must be a key priority if these gains in participation levels are to be sustainable.

“The plan invests in county club facilities at all levels to create model venues at each headquarter venue.

“A clear strategy for floodlit cricket will allow one-day matches, in particular 50-over cricket, to be played in spectators' leisure time which was a key message arising from the market research.

“These investments are additional to the incremental £7million which counties will receive in fee payments over and above the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2005.

“The remarkable success of the ground drainage installed at Lord’s was witnessed last summer and the ECB will offer similar drainage through grants to all our international category A and B venues while category C venues will benefit from differential fee payments.

“Coaching at all levels is a major winner in this finance plan while successful England teams will benefit from scholarship awards, enhanced facilities at the National Cricket Performance Centre and elite coaching programmes. And for the first time England Women’s cricketers will be offered coaching contracts in support of Chance to Shine and county board activities.

“This is a plan which benefits all levels of the game. It would not have been possible without the outstanding support of our sponsorship and media partners as well as the venues which have generated enhanced income from major matches.

Giles Clarke

Giles Clarke wants everyone to have the chance to play

“The plan will be dependent on those levels of financial support being maintained and expanded through 2011 to deliver the facilities at all levels which the game requires to support participation and success.

“The board was delighted that the plan was so warmly received when presented to the Recreational Assembly, counties and our key partners. The plan provides the most significant injection of funding ever provided to cricket in England and Wales and by working in partnership with ECB each of our stakeholders will gain significant benefit.”

Giles Clarke, ECB chairman, said: “This is a major commitment to invest in all areas of cricket.

“Cricket in England and Wales has never seen this level of financial support, and it is entirely due to the strong relationships with all the game’s partners of broadcasters, sponsors and spectators.

“Our resources are being targeted to build the continuing affection of the nation with its summer sport, and to give people of all ages and walks of life the chance to play and watch in the best surroundings. We would not be able to do this without all our strategic partners commercially.”

John Pickup, chairman of the Recreational Assembly, said: “The ECB has made great strides in recent years in its support of the recreational game.

“The support for coaching and club facilities is a major boost to the recreational game at a time when lottery funding has been declining.”

Nigel Hilliard, chairman of Essex, concluded: “I applaud the fact that this plan provides a clear strategy for floodlit cricket. Essex invested in permanent floodlights at Chelmsford and we recognise the benefits.

“The fact that every first-class venue can aspire to model status with a financial reward from the ECB is to be commended.”

National Cricket Performance Centre

National Cricket Performance Centre

The state-of-the-art facility is much more than just a training centre for the England Performance Programme players as it provides an all-year-round facility to benefit cricket as a whole