Rogers rebuked for Ashes tickets offer
Chris Rogers has been left red-faced after it emerged that he has been attempting to sell tickets for the Ashes Test at Lord's contrary to regulations.
Rogers, who is likely to open the batting for Australia in the Ashes, was one of two partners in Inside Edge Experience, a company offering tickets and hospitality to the Lord's Ashes Test. The other partner was Tom Scollay, a former Middlesex colleague.
To further embarrass Rogers, it appears that Scollay was offering prospective clients access to the Australian team as part of the package. Rogers has denied that he knew of such an offer.
Sourcing 10 tickets quite legally from Middlesex - Rogers is a former club captain - the pair offered them as hospitality packages from a minimum of $3,590 Australian dollars (£1,765 ) for the Test, including additions such as a refillable cooler bag for drinks and a picnic lunch. The price of packages rose, with travel and accommodation included, to $5,950 (£2,925 ) for the Test.
But when the MCC, the owners of Lord's, learned of the scheme, they contacted Middlesex and it was immediately closed down. Inside Edge Experience are not licensed to sell cricket hospitality packages and are not one of the MCC's approved operators. It is understood that only one package had been sold and that the party involved will receive a full refund.
"We are vehemently opposed to the second ticket market," a spokesman for the MCC told ESPNcricinfo. "In this case, we understand that no tickets have changed hands and we were assured that it was simply a case of naivety and over enthusiasm."
Middlesex's senior management were also disappointed. They are given a relatively few tickets by the MCC - fewer than 100 a day - and supply them in the expectation they are used by family and friends.
They have made it quite clear than onward selling of them for profit is inappropriate and an abuse of the privilege, though they have accepted that a junior member of staff knew about the scheme and had no idea that it breached any guidelines. They also accept that Rogers did not know the guidelines and made a genuine mistake.
"They shouldn't have done this," a club official told ESPNcricinfo. "We have a great relationship with our landlords, the MCC, and the last thing we would want to do is jeopardise that.
"These tickets are meant for family and friends and there has been some naive thinking if anyone thinks they can sell them on. It shouldn't happen and we will have to ensure it doesn't happen again."
A Cricket Australia spokesman termed the episode a "misunderstanding" and confirmed that Rogers had not faced disciplinary action.
"He was very open about the venture," the spokesman said, "but it may be he reflects that this type of thing is more appropriate once he has finished playing."
Cricket Australia were not aware of the suggestion that access had been offered to players. But an email sent by Scollay describes it as "a very unique opportunity to have access to the players during the test (sic) and something people can't get elsewhere."
He went on to say: "Australian test opener Chris Rogers is my partner in this venture but we have to keep that off mainstream media due to Cricket Australia contract reasons."
As of June 23, the company's website and Facebook page were still active. Middlesex demanded their logo was removed immediately.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo