Opening Yorkshire to private investment is essential for the club’s future, says Colin Graves

Leeds, May 20 (IANS): Colin Graves, the Chairman of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has said the club must go from a traditional members-owned club to becoming a private structure -– through a process of demutualisation -- in order to survive in the future. Graves was re-elected as Yorkshire's chairman for a second stint in February this year. Through a statement on the club’s official website, Graves said Yorkshire lost 2.7 million pounds, despite hosting an Ashes Test last year, which takes the total losses beyond 9 million pounds.

“As discussed at our AGM in April, the Club’s current status as a mutual society continues to prove a blocker to attracting private financing. A demutualisation -– thereby converting the club to a private structure, which unlocks potential private investment – appears at this point essential for the Club’s future.”

“My firm intention is that members’ current rights are protected, and that demutualisation would represent no change to their current interaction with YCCC. The Club would be better structured to be self-sustaining, still in existence, and to capture maximum value for YCCC from any processes such as The Hundred.”

“Other county clubs, including Hampshire and Northamptonshire, have successfully demutualised and are realising the benefits of this structure. We expect to share further guidance around demutualisation and the required process in the coming months. As ever, I will look to keep members fully informed and involved,” said Graves.

The losses also include 1.9 million pounds of “exceptional” (i.e. non-cricketing) expenses being incurred, more so probably due to the legal costs of fighting racism cases. The situation becomes more dire considering Headingley won’t be hosting men’s Tests in 2024, 2027 and 2028.

Talking about the financing that Yorkshire has been able to secure, Graves said, “In addition to £4 million of new funding secured during the first quarter, the Club now requires a further £5 million during the summer to ensure that it has a sustainable future.”

“We are currently engaged in discussions with several credible potential funding partners and are scrutinising them based on their commitment to: i) Yorkshire cricket, ii) our members, and iii) the preservation of our Club for future generations. We will continue to provide regular and timely updates, as appropriate.”

“While there is continued speculation around potential future cash inflows from an auction process in respect of The Hundred competition this winter, this continues to be speculation, without any guarantee.”

“As there is no certainty around the amount or timing of payment that YCCC might receive, we cannot rely on this process and must proceed with sourcing our own much-needed additional financing. These fundraising efforts are being undertaken alongside a thorough exercise of reducing the Club’s cost base, targeting material efficiencies and the reduction of our funding need,” concluded Graves.



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Title: Opening Yorkshire to private investment is essential for the club’s future, says Colin Graves

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