Durham needs £6million to keep test match cricket status

A general view of play during the Fourth NatWest Series One Day International at Emirates Durham ICG, Chester-le-Street.  Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
A general view of play during the Fourth NatWest Series One Day International at Emirates Durham ICG, Chester-le-Street. Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
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DURHAM County Cricket bosses say the club needs up to £6million of public cash as it gears up to host this summer’s Ashes tour.

Just five months before the Aussies roll into the Riverside ground, club bosses have appealed for cash they say is vital to “secure the long-term future of international cricket in Durham”.

Durham County Council has agreed in principle to a £2.8million loan, while the North East Local Enterprise Partnership is reportedly set to approve a further £2.8million in funding on Monday.

A club spokeswoman said there was no immediate threat to this summer’s test match, but the money was critical to the club maintaining its ability to host international games, which was vital to its long-term future.

Durham gained first-class cricket status in 1991 and has been hosting test matches since 2003.

But the club lost more than £2million between 2009 and 2011, a period which saw turnover fall by £600,000.

A five-year plan envisages the club returning to profit this year, but head coach Geoff Cook has said the team’s financial situation prohibits new signings.