October 20, 2016Print : Sports
LONDON: Cash-strapped Durham took another step towards remaining a financially viable first-class club after the local council agreed a “rescue package” for the northeast side.
Durham had already agreed a £3.8 million bail-out from from the England and Wales Cricket Board — a cash injection that came with the tough conditions of relegation from the First Division of the County Championship and a 48-point penalty at the start of next season.
Wednesday saw Durham County Council announce in a tweet that a plan had been agreed to convert £3.74 million in outstanding debt to the local authority into shares in the club’s new structure as a community interest company.
“Financial rescue package for @DurhamCricket unanimously agreed,” said the tweet.
The sanctions imposed on Durham by the ECB also include a stipulation that their Chester-le-Street headquarters will no longer stage Test matches for the foreseeable future, although the ground can continue to host limited overs internationals such as next year’s Twenty20 between England and the West Indies.
Durham responded to the council’s decision by saying: “Durham CCC welcomes the support of the partnership of stakeholders, notably the ECB and Durham County Council, that has come together to invest in an important regional asset and secure the future of first-class and international cricket in Durham.
“The club is pleased that this has been achieved without the need for significant public debt write-off, as has been the case elsewhere in cricket.
“The club’s difficult financial position was brought to a head earlier in the year by the unexpected calling-in of a long-term loan and the challenge of securing, in time, private development investment.
“Durham CCC now looks to the future and to cricket success in a sustainable business.”
The ECB’s decision to relegate Durham and retain Hampshire, who as the second-bottom side in the top flight should have been relegated, sparked a furious response from Kent, who felt they should have been promoted instead.