Derbyshire County Cricket Club has announced that ground development plans are being reviewed following confirmation of potential ECB grant funding totalling £1.7million.
Original plans were based on a grant of £1 million from the ECB which, following the vote to support change in governance, was successfully secured in June 2013.
The funding is ring-fenced for capital expenditure projects such as improved facilities for players, members, spectators and the media – and potential upgrades to wireless internet and floodlights.
The potential additional £700,000, funded largely by an improved broadcast deal, is a welcome boost for a club that has to work hard each year to declare a surplus, despite the lowest player budget in Division One and one of the lowest in the first-class game.
Chief Executive Simon Storey said: “Our over-riding objective as the County Cricket Club of Derbyshire is to represent the strength of the entire county, particularly in our performances on the field. This means we have to increase our playing budget.
“Whilst this will not guarantee success, it will level the playing field and increase the probability of success.
“Our ambitions are entirely possible given that - unlike football – there is salary cap of £1.9 million for the total squad, which means we can really catch-up and put Derbyshire proudly on the map.
“Whilst the Club has no debts, it has no cash reserves and few assets since the ground is owned by the City Council and the Gateway Centre by Revive, a charitable legacy from the New Deal Communities Project that was launched in 2001.
“Without security, it is impossible to raise finance in traditional means from banks and we are saddled with half a million pounds of annual maintenance costs on a stadium we do not own.
“The Club is actively engaged in discussions with Derby City Council in the hope of raising additional financial support as part of the overall regeneration & leisure strategies for the city.
“The hope is that a combination of matched-funding and assistance with the on-going running costs of the stadium might be reached, which would enable the Club to increase its playing budget and bring sustained success on the national cricketing stage.
“As well as the benefits offered by having county cricket located in the city, such as national media exposure and employment for 100 people, the Club would deliver a range of additional community activities and healthy living programmes.
“Innovative financial partnership models already exist across the game of cricket; and the newly installed £900,000 scoreboard at Trent Bridge is a shining example of a successful partnership between Rushcliffe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.
“Middlesex CCC, meanwhile, has an agreement with the MCC to host the majority of their matches at Lord’s, thereby avoiding the major cost of stadium development and maintenance.”
Chairman Chris Grant added: “The Board is committed to bringing sustained cricketing success to Derbyshire and the news that we have access to this additional funding opens up new opportunities for the Club.
“This is a significant one-off cash injection from ECB and the Supervisory Board feels it is prudent to actively review all our options prior to finalising our investment and ground development plans.”