Yorkshire CCC crisis: Lord Patel promises to go 'hell for leather' to win back sponsors and international matches

Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s finances are “under strain” after the racism row which has engulfed the club led to a raft of sponsors cutting ties with the county and international matches put at risk, the club’s new chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel has admitted.

The club’s most recently-published accounts showed that in 2019, from its overall £18m revenue £10.4m came from international games and £3m from commercial income. In the Covid-affected 2020 season, of its £8.7m revenue, £1.4m came from international matches and £900,000 from commercial sponsorship.

With the ECB saying it has suspended Yorkshire from hosting international matches – putting an England Test Match and a One-Day International scheduled for next year into major doubt – and a raft of sponsors including the likes of kit supplier Nike saying they were ending their relationships with the club, Lord Patel told a press conference yesterday that the situation has caused “a financial hiatus”.

He has appointed Yorkshire CCC board member and Morrisons executive Trevor Strain as the club’s new chair of finance and audit, while beginning meeting with sponsors.

Lord Kamlesh Patel said he will be working intensively to make the necessary changes at Yorkshire CCC. Picture: Simon Hulme.

When asked by The Yorkshire Post how deep the financial problems are and whether there is any risk of going into administration or insolvency, Lord Patel said: “I can’t tell you exactly because I need to speak to the chair of the audit risk committee and the finance side.

“I’m sure we are under strain. That’s why I’m going to be hell for leather to get sponsors back, get commercial deals back and get international cricket back. I’m going to work 24/7 to make sure I get the assurances the England and Wales Cricket Board need here.”

Earlier in the press conference, Lord Patel said he had already held discussions with the ECB about what is required for international cricket to be restored.

“We will have to demonstrate that we are addressing the root causes of the issues, and that we are leading change before having any concrete conversations on that.”

Lord Patel gave his first press conference as club chairman on Monday. Picture: Simon Hulme

The club owes almost £15m to Graves Family Trusts, which are linked to the family of former Yorkshire and ECB chairman Colin Graves.

Last week, departing chairman Roger Hutton had claimed the trustees - who have a veto on board appointments - had recently called Mr Graves to return as chairman and threatened to call in their loan unless he was reinstated. In response, the trustees said Lord Patel had their "full and unequivocal" backing.

Lord Patel told the press conference it was "absolutely not" the case he had been appointed on the say-so of the trustees and was voted into post by the existing board members.

He denied they would have a major influence on future board appointments following the resignations of Mr Hutton and three other board members.

"If I go through an independent process with the right procedures and we appoint new board members, somebody is going to have to have a hell of a good reason why they are going to veto that," he said.

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