Yorkshire fuming at Twenty20 snub
Yorkshire's chief executive Stewart Regan has launched a strong attack on English cricket chiefs after the county were snubbed in their efforts to stage a number of showpiece matches during the next two years.
Regan believes the process by which major matches are allocated is "fundamentally flawed" after Yorkshire were turned down by the England and Wales Cricket Board in a bid to host several high-profile international and domestic Twenty20 fixtures.
Yorkshire had hoped to stage between two and four Twenty20 internationals and a Twenty20 finals day, games that could have pulled in upwards of £500,000 for the cash-strapped club.
Crucially, Regan believes Yorkshire were rebuffed not because of the quality of their bid, but because they were out-muscled financially by other counties.
Yorkshire bid around £300,000 for each Twenty20 international and slightly less for a Twenty20 finals day. Their bid was marked on what is known as a "balanced scorecard", whereby counties can earn up to 100 points – 50 for finance, 20 for facilities and infrastructure, 15 for geographical research, 10 for ticket-pricing and five for logistics.
In his submission to the governing body, Regan argued that the Twenty20 finals day, in particular, should be taken around the country to help attract interest.
He said the decision to award Hampshire the event in 2008 was based "more on people ranting and raving in the media after the recent decision to award Cardiff a Test match" than on sound geographical reasons.
"We are very disappointed because we put a lot of work into our bid and thought we could offer a lot of positives," said Regan.
"But finance is too large a part of the decision-making process and the situation has degenerated into a bidding war.
"That means that if a county has major backing from a council, development agency or whatever, then it can out-muscle a club that does not have that support. Cardiff, for instance, got the 2009 Ashes Test because they had significant financial backing from certain quarters."
"We can't match the Cardiffs of this world and it strikes me that the whole process is fundamentally flawed. It's not a major disaster because we've got some big Tests and one-day internationals coming up at Headingley, while our staging agreement with the ECB guarantees international cricket at the ground until 2019.
"But it's certainly very frustrating and disappointing and I would like to see the process changed, for just as Cardiff's bid was effectively the bid of the Welsh nation, what is to stop somewhere like Edinburgh applying with the help of an organisation like the Scottish Parliament?"
Yorkshire's bid to stage one or two Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies next year and one or two Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand and South Africa in 2008 included a joint-bid to hold back-to-back matches with Lancashire.
"The whole system needs to be clarified because the bottom line is that too many grounds are bidding for too few international fixtures."
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