DURHAM became the first county to be penalised by the England and Wales Cricket Board for breaking salary cap regulations.
A fine of £2,500 and deduction of two-and-a-half points in the LV= County Championship and 0.25 points in both the CB40 and Friends Life T20 next year is the price Durham must pay for a category one breach.
The team salary payment regulations, introduced in 2010, stipulate that none of the 18 first-class counties should pay playing staff en masse more than £1.8million a year.
Durham admitted a breach of the limit, and even brought it to the ECB’s notice – and for those reasons, in accordance with the authority of yesterday’s independent tribunal hearing at Lord’s, the points deductions applicable were halved.
An ECB statement said: “The tribunal concluded that the sanctions in accordance with the regulations should reflect the fact that it was Durham who notified the ECB of the breach and Durham had co-operated fully and openly.”
The breach is the lowest of five categories, and Durham made it clear that their overpayment “represents less than 2 per cent of the salary cap”.
In their own statement, they added: “The team salary payment regulations were introduced at a time when Durham was enjoying particular success and seeking to secure the long-term commitment of key players.
“In its submission to the ECB, Durham CCC explained the difficulties faced by counties who wish to remain competitive in all competitions and produce players for England.
“In particular, the lack of certainty relating to players in the England system means that it is impossible to have absolute certainty around the final salary bill.”
H Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles hailed a success “two years in the making” after Warwickshire yesterday wrapped up the LV= County Championship title.
The Bears hammered relegation-haunted local rivals Worcestershire by an innings and 202 runs to seal top spot with a game to spare, with their opponents out for 60 on the first morning.
For Giles, the victory put the seal on a second notable career double – having won the Ashes as a player and England selector, he has now won the Championship as a player and coach.
He said: “I’m just chuffed for everyone.
“Jim (Troughton, captain) and the team have been fantastic this year. They have done everything we’ve asked of them.”