Somerset chairman Andy Nash is warning that county clubs could face serious financial repercussions from the reduction in one-day matches agreed by the England and Wales Cricket Board for the 2012 season.
Nash, who is in the process of seeking election to the ECB board, has questioned plans to maintain the structure of 16 County Championship matches, while lowering the number of Twenty20 games and considering a new structure for the 40-over competition.
He said: “While many Somerset members will undoubtedly welcome the continuation of sixteen Championship matches, others will regret the loss of several very popular one-day fixtures.
“The financial impact of these changes will become clearer in due course. But there is nothing here which entitles those of us entrusted with managing county clubs to conclude that the substantial operating losses being racked up by most counties at present will be reduced.
“This should be a prime concern to everyone who loves the game. Losses on this scale at county level simply cannot be sustained.”
The ECB board have agreed that the Friends Provident t20 competition will be reduced in 2012 from 16 pool matches to ten, played in a dedicated ‘window’ during June and July. The knock-out phases of the competition will remain unchanged.
While agreeing to retain the LV County Championship as two divisions of nine teams playing 16 matches a season, the Board are also considering changes to the structure of the Clydesdale Bank 40-over competition, with two options to be independently reviewed before their next meeting in May.
The options are: Four pools of five teams with a quarter-final, semi-final and final giving eight guaranteed matches, or the retention of the current structure of three pools of seven teams with semi-finals and final.
A concerned Nash added: “It is perhaps premature to congratulate ourselves on agreeing changes to the domestic structure from 2012.
“For now, however, the talking is over and we at Somerset accept that difficult decisions have had to be made and we will work with others to improve both our prospects and those of the game in general.”