County news April 19, 2017

Essex to vote against ECB T20 plan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Essex's Chelmsford ground is not among the frontrunners for inclusion in the ECB's planned T20 competition © Getty Images

Essex have followed Middlesex in announcing that they will not be supporting the ECB's proposed change to its constitution. The amendment to the Articles of Association is required to allow the board to bring in a new, eight-team T20 tournament from 2020.

Essex's chairman, John Faragher, described the new competition as likely to "exclude large area of the country from involvement" and therefore going against the ECB's stated objective of growing the game.

"We do not support the changes to the Articles of Association and consequently the proposed new T20 competition," Faragher said. "It is essential that the County Championship, domestic 50-over and T20 competitions are encouraged to grow, and they must be protected.

"We recognise and support the 'Cricket Unleashed' strategy and indeed Essex County Cricket Club has an enviable record in producing England players and captains. We are focused on expanding cricket in Essex, East Anglia and Metropolitan London, ensuring there are opportunities for all age and ability groups, male and female to be actively involved in the game.

"We believe that as a result of the proposed changes, these opportunities will be reduced, that our income overall will suffer and the first-class game will be diminished, in contradiction to the ECB's objective, which is to grow the game in this country - an objective that is unlikely to be advanced by a competition which would exclude large areas of the country from any involvement in it."

The statement follows consultation between the Essex board and club members. Essex were among the 16 counties (and MCC) who voted to explore the ECB's city-based T20 option last September, although they have been vocal in saying that did not constitute unequivocal backing, as well as arguing Chelmsford should be considered to host a team.

The ECB needs 31 of its 41 constituent members to vote through the change, which would remove the requirement that all 18 counties must be involved in any new competition. Middlesex were the first to come out in opposition last week but several other counties have already given their assent to the proposals, which would see them awarded payments of £1.3m a year by way of compensation for the use of players and facilities.

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  •   Keith Mardell on April 20, 2017, 18:43 GMT

    As an Essex Member I went to one of a series of information sessions held by Mr Faragher. He gave his views, listed his concerns, invited members to ask questions, voice their opinions, and then took a vote. Around 120 members attended my session and ALL were against the ECB proposals. I am proud that Essex have listened to their members, and spoken out against something that will destroy County Cricket.

  • frank on April 20, 2017, 10:01 GMT

    Hear Hear Nutcutlet - The ECB is clearly pursuing a strategy that will see around half the FC counties go to the wall;appeasement doesn't work,PLEASE take note those who have a vote when the time comes to cast it.

  • ian on April 20, 2017, 6:44 GMT

    I think everyone needs to be fully aware of the oldest trick in the book: divide and rule. The ECB is certainly Machiavellian enough not to forget this elementary tactic when it comes to their overriding objective: to snatch power away from the counties and control everything from Lord's. The counties are formidable if united - the ECB knows this. Furthermore, they also know that without the counties' 'co-operation' (which is gained by bribes, coercion and threats) they -the ECB - are nothing. The scales need to fall from many eyes. The ECB does NOT have the counties' best interests at heart! That much should be pretty obvious by now!

  • cricfan36366501 on April 19, 2017, 20:38 GMT

    Thank you Essex. It is hugely frustrating that Gloucestershire, lured by the thoughts of Bristol being one franchise base, are ignoring the fact

  • kenned2901317 on April 19, 2017, 19:53 GMT

    ...and Essex have just become my second favourite club (after my own) - well done.

  • andrew2711976 on April 19, 2017, 17:29 GMT

    Essex haven't 'followed Middlesex'. The chairman said 'Middlesex is fully supportive of the creation of a new T20 tournament to drive the future of the game'. Essex apparently see this marketing flannel for what it is - no one has explained what is wrong with the existing T20 tournament, what is different about the new one and why the future of the game isn't as well or maybe better served by developing the Blast. Given Essex's success in selling the T20 game in their area, they seem to be the county to follow.

  • ian on April 19, 2017, 17:29 GMT

    @anshu.s - just to add to John Price's comments in response to your own - there are some vital differences in the TV coverage of football compared with cricket in U.K. in recent years: whereas live viewing of Premiership and other league football has been and is only accessible by paying specific subs to Sky and/or BT, the FA Cup, which has enormous interest nation-wide, has always been available FTA, live coverage! Together with an established highlights package every week of the premiership - football lends itself well to that format - football has never been hidden from view. Cricket - all cricket, domestic and international - has not had any live coverage whatsoever! When a major sport - and cricket has always been that - is denied any coverage for 15 years (2005 -20) then it all but dies from lack of visibility. For this prison sentence the ECB is wholly responsible. Amazingly. the counties carry on -and offer great cricket-watching! Counties are better supported than you'd think.

  • Immi on April 19, 2017, 17:27 GMT

    Well done Essex, strong points!

  • ian on April 19, 2017, 16:58 GMT

    Good on all John Faragher and all at Essex! They have had the balls to see through the ECB's attempt to grab total control of the counties, hang them out to dry and then toss the county structure on a bonfire! In my opinion - amongst many others - the ECB is about nothing less than sporting and cultural vandalism. They have no vision, only an overwhelming and very short term objective: to fill the coffers of the ECB by grubby means (did they learn nothing from their outrageous dalliance with Alan Stanford?) to the benefit of a small number of elite players and... themselves, of course! If they really had any sense of their proper role - to nurture the game at all levels, to support the county structure - the true fabric of pro-cricket in England &Wales - they would trash their crackpot plans, have a proper consultation process (no threats, bribes/coercion involved, thank you!) and plot an ethical way forward. It's beyond them - they are out of control & unprincipled. Well done, Esx!

  • John on April 19, 2017, 16:17 GMT

    @anshu.s - you are right about the dominance of football and that cricket is a niche sport. What you may not realise is that that has been the case throughout my lifetime (born 1956).

    You don't need the support of the entire population to keep a game going, just a critical mass of support, which may be quite a small percentage of the country. Cricket is not doing as badly at the moment as some would have you believe.

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