Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

ECB Had No Choice, Says Mike Atherton

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

ECB Had No Choice, Says Mike Atherton

Article excerpt

FORMER England cricket captain Michael Atherton has admitted it would have been difficult for Durham to survive without the ECB bail-out - but said he feels for the players after their relegation to the second division of the County Championship.

Durham have been demoted to the second tier of the national league and will start next season with a 48-point deficit as part of sanctions tied in with a financial package from the game's governing body.

And, while Atherton has sympathy for those involved with the club, he feels there was little alternative - even if the punishment was harsh.

"There are a lot of clubs for whom debt has been spiralling out of control," Atherton told Sky Sports. "Some are even in more debt than Durham, but have greater revenue streams coming in to help.

"For Durham, without this bailout, it would have been difficult for them to survive.

"When you look at things in black and white, a points deduction and relegation does look a pretty harsh penalty, but the ECB don't want to be seen as a lender of last resort. …

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