Gloucestershire report £1.19 million shortfall in latest club accounts

County struggle amid cost-of-living crisis and abandoned ODI, with prospect of ground sale on agenda

Heavy rain forced an abrupt abandonment, England vs Ireland, 3rd ODI, Bristol, September 26, 2023

The abandonment of the England-Ireland ODI in September had a major impact on Gloucestershire's revenue in 2023-24  •  Getty Images

Gloucestershire's viability as a first-class county has been cast into renewed doubt after the club reported a loss of £1.19 million in their annual accounts, published on Monday, which is more than twice the shortfall of £570,000 that they accrued in 2022-23.
In her report, Gloucestershire's Treasurer Rebecca Watkin insisted that the club's outlook for 2024 and 2025 was more positive, but blamed the current situation on the cost-of-living crisis that has raised the club's day-to-day running costs, allied to the washed-out ODI between England and Ireland in September, which would ordinarily have been a vital source of revenue, given the club's non-Test and Hundred-hosting status.
"This has been a challenging year financially for a number of reasons and there is no doubt it is disappointing to be reporting a second consecutive financial deficit," Watkin wrote. "Gloucestershire has experienced a tumultuous couple of years both on and off the field but despite that, we remain committed to pushing for success on the field with inspiring, competitive cricket, and will ensure all that can be done is done to return improved financial results in the years to come."
In December, Gloucestershire's board had floated the possibility of selling up the club's historic Nevil Road ground, which has been their home since WG Grace assisted with its purchase in 1889 and could now be worth between £25 and £40 million, and moving to a new out-of-town venue near the junction of the M4 and M5.
That prospect could be one step closer now, following an independent audit by chartered accountants, Saffery LLP, which revealed net liabilities of £5,019,000, leaving Gloucestershire in breach of its banking covenants and casting "significant doubt on the Club's ability to continue as a going concern".
A number of contributory factors were cited in the accounts, including a £67,000 increase in energy bills across four months, and an extra £43,000 in interest-rate payments. The annual £4 million funding that the club receives from the ECB is, Watkin added in her report, effectively worth around £750,000 less in real terms compared to four years ago, while other ventures - including a Ministry of Sound dance party held at the ground in July - "did not deliver the financial returns predicted".
In his own report, David Jones, the club chair, described the year as a "rollercoaster", with Gloucestershire's rock-bottom finish in the 2023 County Championship compounding their off-field struggles. However, with the bidding process now underway for the Women's World Cup in 2026, he insisted the club remained well placed to ensure Bristol retained its status as a host city for such marquee events.
On the prospect of the ground relocation, Jones reiterated the club's need to remain "open-minded" in spite of the weight of history at the Nevil Ground, adding that the opportunity to relocate to a new, purpose-built and larger site would allow Gloucestershire to "flourish for future generations".
A formal update on the relocation plans are anticipated in May or June, following further discussions at the club's AGM on April 29.