ECB relegate Durham after propping up their finances

Durham have been relegated from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship and will begin next season with an additional 48-point penalty.

A view of Durham's Riverside home during a game between England and Sri Lanka (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).

The sanctions have been agreed with the England and Wales Cricket Board as a condition of £3.8m of financial support from the national governing body.

Durham’s demotion from the top flight of domestic first-class cricket means Hampshire will remain in Division One instead next summer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It was first revealed last week that Durham might face relegation as they and the ECB seek a solution to the club’s financial difficulties.

An ECB statement on Monday confirmed relegation and a series of further measures.

They include the return of all 2016 prize money, the imposition of a revised salary cap up to April 2020 – reviewed annually by the governing body – and respective four- and two-point penalties in next summer’s NatWest Blast and Royal London Cup.

Durham will also no longer be able to apply to stage Test matches at Emirates Riverside, until further notice – although limited-overs internationals, including a Twenty20 next summer, can still take place there.

Durham’s 2016 prize money will be retained by the ECB until all the club’s debts have been settled, and future redevelopment at Chester-le-Street can take place only after prior agreement with the governing body.

The ECB have set aside £2m of Durham’s debt following the agreement that the county can no longer stage Tests.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “We’ve been working with Durham County Cricket Club throughout the year on how best to address their financial issues; we welcome the club’s willingness to review its business model and management structures.

“There is no doubt that a strong, financially robust Durham County Cricket Club has a vital role to play in developing England talent, enriching our domestic competitions and underpinning the wider growth of the game in the north-east.”

Durham’s financial situation is one of “unprecedented seriousness”, according to Harrison – who added: “To help them through these difficulties and continue as a first-class county, this had to be addressed with immediate, practical financial assistance.”

Durham, English cricket’s newest first-class club after achieving the status 25 years ago, went on to win the county championship three times between 2008 and 2013.