Durham’s future as a financially viable first-class club is a major step closer after confirmation that the county council has unanimously agreed to a “rescue package”.
Durham agreed a £3.8million bail-out with the England and Wales Cricket Board earlier this month - bringing with it stringent conditions including relegation from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship and a 48-point penalty for the start of next season.
Financial rescue package for @DurhamCricket unanimously agreed
Then, this morning, Durham County Council announced in a Tweet that a recommendation has been accepted for a plan to convert £3.74million in outstanding debt to the local authority into shares in the club’s new structure as a community interest company.
The county council tweet read: “Financial rescue package for @DurhamCricket unanimously agreed.”
Durham’s difficulties were laid bare when the ECB announced details of the club’s bail-out - along with relegation, a stipulation that Test matches will no longer be staged in Chester-le-Street.
Limited-overs international fixtures, however, including next year’s Twenty20 between England and West Indies, can continue to take place at Emirates Riverside.
The club issued a statement following the council’s decision.
It read: “Durham CCC welcomes the support of the partnership of stakeholders, notably the ECB and Durham County Council, that has come together to invest in an important regional asset and secure the future of first-class and international cricket in Durham.
“The club is pleased that this has been achieved without the need for significant public debt write-off, as has been the case elsewhere in cricket.
“The club’s difficult financial position was brought to a head earlier in the year by the unexpected calling-in of a long-term loan and the challenge of securing, in time, private development investment.
“Durham CCC now looks to the future and to cricket success in a sustainable business.”
During ongoing discussions with the governing body, it is understood Durham were encouraged to identify individuals with a connection to the North East region who may be able to help steer them to a more secure future.
Former England captain Ian Botham, who played for Durham when the club was granted first-class status 25 years ago, subsequently confirmed his interest in helping his old county.