Essex and Durham reveal opposing views on city-based T20 plans

Essex
Essex reached the 2016 T20 Blast quarter-finals

Essex have become the second county to announce their intention to stand against a new city-based Twenty20 competition, planned for 2020.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) rules need to be altered to remove the right of all 18 counties to play in the new tournament.

Essex follow Middlesex in their refusal to support the change.

But Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham said his county were fully committed in their support for the new tournament.

He said: "It's financially very sensible to do it and if we prepare properly and come up with the right formula throughout the summer - just look at the success of the Big Bash in Australia and the IPL - then it's proven that the format has great benefit."

Meanwhile, Essex chairman John Faragher said the County Championship, one-day and T20 competitions "must be protected".

The changes require the support of 31 out of 41 of the ECB's voting members.

Faragher continued: "We are focused on expanding cricket in Essex, East Anglia and Metropolitan London, ensuring there are opportunities for all age and ability groups, male and female, to be actively involved in the game.

"We believe that as a result of the proposed changes, these opportunities will be reduced, that our income overall will suffer and the first-class game will be diminished, in contradiction to the ECB's objective which is to grow the game in this country - an objective that is unlikely to be advanced by a competition which would exclude large areas of the country from any involvement in it."

Middlesex
Middlesex chairman Mike O'Farrell previously said the financial impact of the new tournament on his county "is still very uncertain and contains great risks".

The 41 voting members comprise the 18 first-class counties, 21 recreational boards, the Minor Counties Cricket Association, and MCC - owners of Lord's and therefore Middlesex's landlord.

A number of counties have come out in support of the proposals for the new tournament, with Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Somerset, Sussex and Yorkshire all announcing that they will back the ECB rule change, while others including Glamorgan, Hampshire and Warwickshire have been vocal in their support for a city-based competition.

Kent have asked their members and supporters to give them further feedback before making a decision, while Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart has expressed concern over the details of the new event.

How the new competition works

  • Eight new teams playing 36 games over a 38-day summer window, with four home games each
  • All games televised, with significant free-to-air exposure
  • No scheduling overlap with the existing T20 Blast competition
  • An Indian Premier League-style play-off system to give more incentive for finishing higher up the league
  • A players' draft, with squads of 15 including three overseas players
  • Counties guaranteed £1.3m each

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