English Cricket Loses Out

Cricket News 02/04/03

Report By Shane Dell

The back-lash for English cricket has been swift and severe as a result of the lack of success attained by the England team during the recently completed World Cup.

At a meeting of the First Class Forum (FCF) of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), it was agreed provisionally that there would be a reduction of £4m made from the ECB's 2003 budgeted expenditure. These cost savings affect all parts of cricket in England and Wales, ranging from the grassroots of the game, up to the allocation of central contracts for the England team. One area of savings identified is the allocation of fee payments to each of the 18 First Class Counties, who will in all likelihood, each receive £30,000 less this year than was originally intended.

These cost savings are, primarily, the direct consequence of the ECB withdrawing England from its scheduled ICC World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare. As a result of this, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced last week it would be withholding £2.3m from the ECB, in lieu of likely compensation claims associated with the non-playing of this match. The ECB withdrew the England team because it did not receive satisfactory assurances about the safety and security of the England team and management. The ECB accepts no liability arising from this action, which it believes was fully justified and expects that, following arbitration, they will receive the full £2.3m plus interest, currently held in escrow by the ICC.

Speaking after the meeting, Tim Lamb, Chief Executive of the ECB, said:

"It is regrettable that these cost savings need to be found, but they are part of the financial fall-out from the 2003 World Cup. It is only right and proper that all parts of the game should bear the pain. The ECB is committed to managing cricket on a thoroughly professional and modern basis and like all responsible businesses, we need to balance our books. We will further renew our efforts to run cricket on the most cost-efficient basis."

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