Revenue Protection Agent Smith surveyed the room.

"The most important day in the history of cricket is upon us, colleagues," he said. "The ECB are about to decide if they will move Ashes Test cricket from its traditional home on the magnificent Sky Television over to the ghastly council telly that any Tom, Dick or Harry can watch."

"For free," he added, sobbing.

Regaining his composure, Revenue Protection Agent Smith outlined the full horror of the situation.

"As already stated, we could stand to lose some £137 million, which will in turn drive our top cricketers into the arms of the IPL, organised crime, playing the accordion on London Underground to earn a few pennies, and in extreme cases, prostitution.

"Does this government want to see Tim Bresnan, covered in cheap make-up and wearing a leather microskirt, wandering round Kings Cross and selling himself like a piece of meat? Because that is the inevitable, immediate future if this legislation goes through."

There were anguished gasps from the room, and a chant of "Save Tim Bresnan" began. Agent Smith raised a hand for quiet.

"Since Sky television took over - and I, for one, welcome our non-domiciled overlord - English cricket has enjoyed an unprecedented boom in interest. Thanks to the money we get from non-terrestrial TV, cricket is now played in every school in the country, in every park, on every street corner. Young people in this country are literally cricket barmy - and this is all down to not being inside watching it on the television. Because they don't have it on TV, they go out and play it themselves. It really is that simple."

"Colleagues, if the government forces us to have cricket on the BBC, it is condemning an entire generation to a lifetime of sitting in front of the gogglebox, stuffing their faces with chicken twizzlers and non-ECB mandated soft drinks, eating themselves into an early grave. And all because some do-gooders want to 'get them involved in sport'.

"We have a word for those people, and it is not a nice word. That word is 'communists'."

A cry rang out: "Commies Out - ECB will save the fatties."

"But there is an even more serious issue at stake," warned Agent Smith. "Even more serious than an entire generation of children getting diabetes just because some idiots want to take cricket away from poor Mr Murdoch."

"If we lose this money, Mr Giles Clarke's entirely reasonable salary will have to be met by a percentage of the grassroots budget, i.e. all of it. This means that there will be no more money left to buy helmets, pads and, crucially, abdominal protectors for child cricketers. The resulting upturn in the number of whacks to vulnerable goolies will have devastating future implications for fertility in the UK.

"In short, the entire population of the UK will die out and the country will cease to exist, and all because the government took cricket away from Sky. We must act immediately. Somebody give Stephen Byers a ring, pronto."

Alan Tyers is a freelance journalist based in London.
Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fictional (but you knew that already, didn't you?)