Changing Yorkshire CCC’s status as a members’ club “appears essential” - Graves

COLIN GRAVES says taking Yorkshire County Cricket Club out of members’ ownership will safeguard its future and protect their rights.

The Yorkshire chair has written to the members saying that demutualisation - which would see the club convert into a private company owned by shareholders - would help transform a perilous picture.

Warning that “without swift and decisive action, YCCC will be fighting for its survival during 2024” as it battles debts of circa £22m, Graves states: “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.

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"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.

Yorkshire chair Colin Graves addresses the members at February's EGM. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comYorkshire chair Colin Graves addresses the members at February's EGM. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Yorkshire chair Colin Graves addresses the members at February's EGM. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

“My firm intention is that members’ current rights are protected, and that a 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.”

Commenting on the Hundred specifically, Graves writes: “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.”

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Graves says Hampshire and Northamptonshire have “successfully demutualised and are realising the benefits of this structure”. He adds Yorkshire “expect to share further guidance around demutualisation and the required process in the coming months”.

It is understood 75 per cent of members would have to approve the change of status in a vote in which 50 per cent of the membership would need to participate. Members could buy shares in the new entity, which would also help Yorkshire press ahead with plans to develop Headingley and their pathway programme.

In his letter, Graves says £4m of new funding was secured during the first quarter of 2024 but the club now needs “a further £5m during the summer to ensure it has a sustainable future… we urgently need to take appropriate action to ensure that YCCC is financially stable, fit for the future and - as I stated at the EGM in February - never put in this position again.”

Graves says Yorkshire are “currently engaged in discussions with several credible potential funding partners and are scrutinising them based on their commitment to Yorkshire cricket, our members, and the preservation of our club for future generations.” He also pledges: “I would like to state on record that in the (perhaps unlikely) event that any financial upside emerged from ongoing refinancing efforts for either myself or my family trust, these amounts would be donated in full into a charitable trust supporting Yorkshire recreational cricket, both men’s and women’s.”

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