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Kent seek legal advice after missing out on promotion

No pot of gold for Kent after Durham's misfortune ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Kent are to take legal advice as they seek to appeal the decision to readmit Hampshire to Division One of the County Championship in place of Durham.

Kent, who finished second in Division Two of the County Championship, were under the impression that they would be considered for the position after Durham forfeited their place as part of a financial rescue package agreed with the ECB.

They were especially disappointed to discover the news via Twitter rather than receive a call from anyone at the ECB.

"We will consult our lawyers," Kent chairman, George Kennedy, told ESPNcricinfo. "We need to find out how we can appeal against a decision we consider unfair.

"We are very upset. We expected we would be given an opportunity to present our case to the ECB. It seems to be an arbitrary decision and the ECB are hiding behind regulations that nobody appears to have seen."

While the ECB claim the decision was taken "in accordance with competition regulations", it is not immediately clear what those regulations are. Indeed, in Section 4, paragraph 4.2 of the ECB's regulations for the 2016 County Championship season, it states: "Promotion and relegation arrangements will be separately confirmed."

With the shape of the domestic season changing, it was only agreed in March that one team would be promoted from Division Two. Kent are insistent that the ECB has not so much followed protocol as made a deliberate choice to favour Hampshire.

It is understood the decision to readmit Hampshire was taken at an ECB board meeting at which county representatives and the new MCC representative, Matthew Fleming (a former Kent player) were barred from voting.

"It is the second time this year a decision has gone against Kent," Kennedy continued. "The previous one concerned an abandoned match at New Road for which we were given just five points despite it being clear that the ground was unfit for play the day before the game.

"The fact that there is no right to appeal makes the ECB like the Star Chamber.

"I am also considering my own position in the game. Unless you have confidence in the governing body, there seems little point and I have almost completely lost confidence in the ECB."

An ECB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo: "Today's decision to reinstate Hampshire was in line with the two-down, one-up relegation and promotion rules for this season's County Championship which were notified to all counties and published prior to start of the 2016 season."