County cricket February 22, 2012

Yorkshire bullish despite heavy losses

ESPNcricinfo staff

Yorkshire lost nearly half a million pounds in 2011, completing a poor year for the county during which they were relegated to Division Two of the County Championship, but the county insists that the figure represents proof that the worst of their financial meltdown is behind them.

The figure of £460,000 was a vast improvement on the previous year's loss of £2 million, which was largely caused by a failed gamble on a poorly-attended Pakistan vs Australia Test match as Yorkshire's Pakistani community showed little interest in five-day cricket.

Yorkshire are still £19 million in debt after the construction of their controversial £21 million new pavilion. However, the club expect to return to profit in 2012. They have reported strong ticket sales for this season where Headingley hosts a Test against South Africa and an ODI against West Indies.

They are also confident for the future, having secured at least six days of international cricket every year for the next seven years - a deal they accepted rather than risk bidding for an Ashes test in either 2013 or 2015.

Given good progress, they could be prepared to re-enter the race for to stage an Ashes Test in 2019, although their prospects would be questionable as they have been outstripped in terms of development by a host of counties.

Yorkshire's finance director, Charles Hartwell said: "We're out of the woods. I'm expecting the club to record a profit over the next eight years unless something drastic happens, like nobody watching England play cricket any more - and that hasn't happened for decades."

The club were encouraged by their progress in controling their debts last season, which had always been budgeted for a loss because they had no Test. They managed to slash their losses by a quarter, selling out England's ODI against Sri Lanka and packing in 12,000 for the Roses Friends Life t20 match against Lancashire.

The county's primary creditors remain Leeds City Council, who are owed nearly £8m for a loan to the club to build the Carnegie Pavilion.

Edited by Andrew McGlashan