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Yorkshire highlight financial threat

— 23 February 2010

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has today contacted local MPs to express our concern at the threat to continued investment in cricket in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has today contacted local MPs to express our concern at the threat to continued investment in cricket in Yorkshire.

A consultation currently being held by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport into sporting events which should be listed could mean an income loss to cricket in England and Wales of at least £100m during a four year period. With loses of this magnitude the impact would be felt at all levels of the game.

Increased investment at all levels of cricket has generated impressive results with year on year increases in participation, focus clubs, volunteers and coaches throughout the county. Added to this at a national level the Men’s, Women’s and Disability teams have won their respective Ashes and last year the England Women’s team won the ICC Women’s World Cup and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20.

Yorkshire CCC’s ability to make significant investments in grassroots and community cricket in Yorkshire and establish a successful performance pathway from schools and clubs through to the county teams and on to the England set up has been in large part due to the fact that ECB has been able to negotiate a fair market price for cricket with a broadcaster who has demonstrated a desire and commitment to our sport.

Accepting recommendations by the Davies review to list the home Ashes Test Series and the subsequent loss of income to the ECB and ourselves would have a disastrous impact on our ability to support and develop cricket in Yorkshire.

The Club has invested heavily into the Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground over the last two years with a new drainage system, a new 102 square metre scoreboard and replay screen and the development of the new £21m Carnegie Pavilion.

The county has also built on its impressive grassroots cricket programmes in conjunction with the Yorkshire Cricket Board and currently runs the most successful Academy programme in the country. The results are there for all to see with eleven players representing England between England Under-19s and the full England side this winter. These results, both on and off the pitch, require significant financial investment and a long-term commitment to cricket. The money the Club receives from the ECB, the majority of which is earned through the broadcasting deal, is crucial to these endeavours.

Colin Graves, the Chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “A competitive bidding process is essential for the viability and success of the sport of cricket in the United Kingdom. Yorkshire CCC is not blinkered in supporting Sky ’s coverage at the expense of all other broadcasters, but would like to see a free bidding process which allows terrestrial and satellite television companies the chance to bid on a level playing field. The future of one of this country’s national sports is at risk here from the child looking for a bit of coaching through to the professional ranks and I urge the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to consider the future of our sport very carefully. Summer’s could be very different if the wrong course of action results here.”

David Collier, ECB chief executive, said: “We are extremely concerned that should the government choose to accept the recommendations in the Davies review the entire structure of the game in this country could be undermined. Cricket is currently thriving across the country with more coaches, improved stadia, cricket returning to State schools through the Chance to Shine programme and world class support structures for the men’s, women’s and disabled teams. A massive loss of income over four years would have a devastating impact on our ability to maintain and improve cricket in this country and we would urge the Government to consider these wider implications before making any decisions.”