ECB puts decision on hold over County Championship rejig proposals

• Discussions will continue with counties over the winter
• Plans involve cutting Championship games from 16 to 14

The England and Wales Cricket Board has put plans to cut the County Championship from 16 games to 14 from next season on hold, with discussions over a revised domestic structure from 2017 to continue over the winter.

Next week’s ECB board meeting was expected to see a new format for 2016 signed off, with the number of four-day fixtures reduced and both the 50-over and Twenty20 competitions to be played in blocks with a view to helping players specialise and easing workloads.

Those proposals, drawn up as part of a review by the ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and the chairman Colin Graves were presented to the counties this month and while a consensus was believed to have been reached, it is now accepted that further negotiations are required.

“There have been a lot of valuable conversations across the game over recent weeks and the time and feedback have been widely appreciated,” an ECB spokesperson said. “We’ve heard both a desire to look at the long-term interests of the game and an understandable need to have more detail on the impact of any future changes.

“Clearly, more discussion will be helpful for everyone and these constructive conversations will focus on the long-term strategy as well as the domestic structure, to help us all make the right decisions.”

The long-term plan remains for the domestic game to be reordered from 2017 onwards, with the proposal for an eight-team Division One and 10-team second tier – with sides playing 14 games a season – still possible.


Ali Martin

The GuardianTramp

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