Leading county sides flay ECB's proposed plan to drastically reduce number of matches

London, Sep 24 (IANS): Several counties are up against the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) plans to radically shake up the County structure in the country, including the proposal to reduce the number of County Championship matches by up to four per county.

The ECB has reportedly completed a "high performance review" under former captain Andrew Strauss and published the final report with 17 recommendations. One of the recommendations reportedly says the County Championship should be a three-division competition, with a six-team top division and two secondary conferences where the winners face each other for one promotion spot each year.

Under the proposed format, the 18 counties will also play fewer matches, with each side set to play four less T20 Blast matches and up to four less Championship games.

Sussex county chairman Jon Filby and chief executive of Essex, John Stephenson, have flayed the ECB's proposed changes as "unworkable" and have raised "integrity" concerns, said a report in mirror.co.uk.

"Strauss' high performance review is equally unworkable as far as county cricket is concerned," Filby told BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. "When looked at through the lens of high performance it is exactly what the game needs. But we are not only looking through the lens of high performance.

"We are looking through a financial and commercial lens. We are looking through the eyes of our members who have cricket that they want and we're looking very much through a variety of angles that is not just high performance.

"In Sussex, particularly the T20 competition, we fill the ground up. In 2018 we had sell-outs and that obviously has financial benefits to us, roughly 100,000 pounds for each of those eight games in terms of profit. But also the 6,500 people who turn up to each game are getting an opportunity to really enjoy an experience at the cricket," added Filby.

"It can't be acceptable that we in Sussex shut our ground for a couple of matches when we know there are people who are desperate to come and watch and enjoy some of the world's great cricketers playing at Hove."

Stephenson also questioned the ECB's proposed plan.

"That is our life blood, that is what brings in the revenue to the club. But not only that, it's something our members love to come and watch," said Stephenson.



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Title: Leading county sides flay ECB's proposed plan to drastically reduce number of matches

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