Durham relegation a warning to other counties, says Michael Vaughan

Durham celebrate
Durham won the County Championship title in 2008, 2009 and 2013

Durham's relegation to Division Two of the County Championship is a warning to others but the England and Wales Cricket Board is also at fault, says former England captain Michael Vaughan.

The North East county have been demoted after accepting a £3.8m financial aid package from the ECB.

"The ECB have to hold their hands up and look at the system they have created," said Vaughan.

Counties currently have to bid to stage international matches at their grounds.

Durham reportedly paidexternal-link £923,000 to stage England's Test match against Sri Lanka in May, which ended in victory for the home side.

But they have now lost the right to stage Test cricket at the Riverside and will start next season with a 48-point deduction.

Durham finished fourth in Division One last year and their relegation means Hampshire, who were second bottom, have been reinstated.

"The decision has been coming," Vaughan, who also represented Yorkshire, told BBC Radio 5 live. "For many years, there have been a few counties who have gone through financial difficulties.

"These counties get put under so much pressure to bid for the right for a Test match and one-day games.

"In this case, Durham have found it difficult to find investment. This could be a lot worse for them. The ECB bailed them out."

Paul Collingwood tweet
Captain Paul Collingwood tweeted after Durham's relegation was announced

Vaughan said he had "never liked" the process of counties bidding to host international matches.

"I never understood it," he said. "It was taking money out of the pot and putting counties under too much restraint and pressure to sell tickets."

In a statement, the ECB said it had helped Durham because of the "unprecedented seriousness" of their situation.

Former Durham and England fast bowler Steve Harmison said "nobody comes out of this looking very good".

He added: "I don't think the ECB have helped Durham in the last 12-18 months and there has been mismanagement from a Durham point of view."

Lancashire director of cricket Ashley Giles, England's former T20 and ODI coach, said the ECB's policy of trying to "create competition" in order to spread Test cricket throughout the country had "backfired a little bit".