The ECB have contacted Durham's creditors to try to negotiate a part writing-off of debts to put the county on a firmer financial footing.

The message to creditors is that, unless debts are further reduced, Durham's involvement in events such as the 2019 World Cup cannot be guaranteed and their long-term viability remains uncertain.

Durham have received a £3.8m bailout from the ECB. They have been relegated from Division One of the County Championship because of the need for emergency ECB support during the season and have been told that they will no longer be allowed to bid to host Test matches at Chester-le-Street.

That, though, is only part of the approach. An ECB spokesman told the Newcastle Chronicle: "ECB has written to Durham County Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership asking them to support an all-creditors solution to enable Durham County Cricket Club to move towards a fully secure future.

"The club's acceptance of the ECB financial aid package is significant, but on its own does not give a long-term solution. "For the club to have the best chance of a viable future in first class cricket - as well as host prestigious internationals and play a part in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup - it needs an approach which has the support of all creditors.

"We have outlined a proposal which we believe gives the cricket club a viable future whilst ensuring creditors have the best opportunity to get their money back."

Durham City Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership will now be invited to reduce the debt burde4n in a similar manner in which Glamorgan escaped potential bankruptcy last year when Cardiff Council wrote off £4.4m debts as part of a restructuring in which creditors waived 70% of loans.

In Glamorgan's case, politicians conceded that the survival of the club was vital to the Welsh economy and the sporting community and its bankruptcy could not be contemplated. The ECB hopes that the same conclusion will be reached in the north-east.

With too many international grounds to go round, the loss of Chester-le-Street as an England venue could easily be masked. But the north-east has been a fertile production ground for England players, leaving the ECB and the public bodies with deloicate negotiations ahead.

The ECB already supports each first-class county to roughly £2m a year and felt obliged to penalise Durham heavily so that the impression does not grow that they will happily be the lender of last resort to every county that is badly run or that has embraced necessary expansion to bring England's cricket grounds into the 21st century.