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Graves addresses doubts over Test Match payments at board meeting

External view of the ECB offices at Lord's ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Colin Graves would appear to have emerged unscathed from a chairmen's meeting called to assuage concerns raised by several of the first-class counties.

Graves, the ECB chairman, called the meeting of the chairmen of the 18 counties and the MCC (or their deputies) after it emerged compensation payments could be paid to Test Match grounds in years they do not host Tests. In particular, concerns had been raised after it emerged Glamorgan had received £2.5m from the ECB. Andy Nash, the former Somerset chairman, resigned from the board in protest claiming such payments had not been discussed and citing "standards of corporate governance… falling well short of what's acceptable".

But Graves was able to produce minutes of a board teleconference in September 2016 - a teleconference at which Nash was involved - during which the principle of compensating grounds "in exchange for waiving the right to be eligible to host Test Matches in the future" was raised. At the time, the ECB board were reflecting on the arrangement made with Durham - they were given help with their financial problems in return for surrendering their aspirations to host more Test cricket for the foreseeable future - but Graves was recorded to have said he wanted to use the idea "as a template going forward for any counties that find themselves in a similar situation". The minutes say the ECB board "unanimously agreed" the proposal.

The ECB have previously intimated that compensation payments to other Test-hosting clubs for years when they do not host such games will only be confirmed once the board has agreed the policy. It is understood several counties have budgeted in anticipation of such payments, but they have not yet been finalised.

There was also some discussion over the ownership of the new-team T20 competition scheduled to start in 2020. The county chairmen will now discuss the information they gathered at the meeting with their own committees and executive.

"This was a constructive meeting, with healthy and open debate," Graves said. "We addressed a range of questions, including giving a full explanation of the payment to Glamorgan and the process through which the Board considered and agreed this.

"It was stressed that major funding decisions are always raised, discussed and agreed at the Board.

"Within the room, everyone also agreed on a shared responsibility for the health and sustainability of the game and further developing engagement and discussion within the game."