ESSEX have announced their opposition to the newly-promoted city-based Twenty20 competition, with their chairman believing it is ‘wrong for the game’.
Chairman John Faragher believes the newly proposed competition in England will make Essex a minor county and that some clubs are simply voting for the measure in the face of promised cash from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Essex were one of 16 teams to continue exploring the viability of the scheme - with only Surrey, Sussex and Kent opposing it - but Faragher says this was not an acceptance of the proposal but rather a vote to carry out further investigations.
“When discussions began in September, it was reported that three counties were against the new idea and everyone else voted in favour,” Faragher told Cricbuzz. “That was not strictly accurate. I was unhappy about it. However, I would give the OK for further evaluation to be conducted.
“I think it’s going to happen but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to sit here and roll over and accept it.
“I’d not be doing my job as chairman of this club if I just sat and said yes because it’s a foregone conclusion. Colin Graves and the ECB will know where we are coming from.”
The ECB will reconvene the chairmen and chief executives of the 18 English counties on March 27 for further discussions - to be played outside the county structure - which is currently being undertaken by a consultancy firm.
Off the pitch, Essex attracts supporters from a large catchment area which includes East London and East Anglia. Chelmsford is known as one of the best atmospheres on the circuit for Natwest T20 Blast matches.
Last season, they sold 91 per cent of all tickets and Faragher thinks it is unlikely that many of those supporters would want to trek to London to watch a city team play.
“We are a tribal nation,” says Faragher. “We support our counties.
“Let’s face it, nobody knows if this tournament will actually take off. I want to look at the plus sides but I can’t actually see any.
“Overall, the whole proposition of the new competition is wrong for the game.”