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.