ECB doles out 18 million pound-deal to build 'bright future' of English county cricket

London, Apr 9 (ANI): The profile of English county cricket is set to rise with the upcoming back-to-back Ashes series and an 18 million-pound windfall from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which will help it bounce back from one of the toughest trading years in recent memory.

The wettest summer in a century combined with the counter-attraction of the London Olympic Games meant that attendances fell across the country and produced some massive losses last year, with Warwickshire losing more than 600,000 pounds and Middlesex losing 519,000 pounds, the Telegraph reports.

The ECB's managing director of professional cricket Gordon Hollins said that the board has made one million pounds available to each of the 18 first-class counties, although he warned them to spend the amounts on capital projects rather than squandering it on players' wages.

Hollins further said that the ECB is keen for the counties to diversify their business interests to make them less vulnerable to the vagaries of the British climate and less dependent on the annual handout they receive from Lord's.

Vowing to make good use of the amount given to them by the ECB, Leicestershire CEO Mike Siddall said that the aim of the counties is to diversify their activities so that they are not reliant on cricket, adding that it probably was a weakness in their finances in the past.

All counties have been required to submit a five-year business plan for the ECB's approval which has enabled the ruling body to give all 18 clubs a financial health check and for counties to review their operations, the report added. (ANI)

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