Indebted Durham County Cricket Club is now likely to survive due to a unanimous vote by county councillors on 19th October to approve a rescue package.
In September, the club’s accounts showed it had debts of £7.5 million, with the interest estimated at a further £1 million per year. In early October, the club agreed to a bailout deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), worth £3.8 million. The deal inflicts certain sanctions on the club including relegation to league two and a 48-point penalty at the start of next season. The club’s Riverside Stadium ground in Chester-le-Street was also to be refused permission to hold test matches.
Even with this deal the club was still more or less insolvent, and the council was told that if it didn’t put together a rescue package, Durham County Cricket Club would go under.
Durham County Council, however, has now announced that it has approved a plan to convert the £3.74 million the club owes it in loans into shares in the club. The deal also means that limited-overs internationals can still take place at Chester-le-Street.
The club stated it was 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 added, “The club’s difficult financial position was brought to a head earlier this year by the unexpected calling in of a long-term loan and the challenge of securing, in time, private development investment.”
The council plans to create a community interest company to manage its shares in the club. A report from the council states that destroying the club and holding a fire sale of its assets would be unlikely to restore to the council the money it has loaned. Although the council will not now receive loan repayments from the club, it will be paid dividends as well as getting a portion of any special match fees.
A club statement 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.”