T20 Blast: Financial struggles force Middlesex to play home matches in Essex
Middlesex will host Kent and Gloucestershire at Chelmsford in Essex on May 31 and June 18 respectively.
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Middlesex lease its primary venue, Lord’s, from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) but due to growing financial struggle, the club is forced to play a couple of their home matches in Essex in the upcoming T20 Blast. Chelmsford in Essex will be their home for two matches while Radlett Cricket Club and Merchant Taylors' School near Watford could be used for other games.
The club recently named it one of the preferred grounds and will play a few matches there next season as they are currently tight on finance following a constant legal dispute with its former chief executive Richard Goatley. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) fined £150,000 for financial mismanagement in September 2023 and that has hurt the club and now, they are looking for cost-cutting measures.
“We have gone to lengths to be transparent and open with our members when discussing the financial position the club is in, and moving forward we need to continue to take every step we can to ensure we remain rigorous in our control of the club's costs.
“The cost of setting up the infrastructure of an out-ground venue is a significant liability the club has historically had to factor into our financial model every year - increasingly so in recent seasons with the enhancements we have made to the member experience at out-ground matches,” Andrew Cornish, current CEO of Middlesex said in a statement on their website.
As things stand, Middlesex will travel to Chelmsford thrice during the Blast. They will host Kent and Gloucestershire on May 31 and June 18 respectively while they will play against Essex (away game) on June 2. On the other hand, they will host Hampshire at Radlett Cricket Club on July 6 and will also play a couple of 50-over matches there as Lord’s will be used for The Hundred.
“We have, as a result, been in discussion with our friends at Essex, who have been very receptive to the idea of hosting us at the Cloud County Ground for two of our Blast matches this year,” Cornish said.