Hun­dred is huge ‘punt’, MPS are told

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By Tim Wig­more

Tom Har­ri­son, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board, re­peat­edly failed to an­swer how much had been spent on the Hun­dred as the ECB was grilled by a De­part­ment of Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport se­lect com­mit­tee.

“Mr Har­ri­son, it’s a sim­ple ques­tion. What is the bud­get and how much have you spent?” Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff South, asked. Har­ri­son was un­able to an­swer with a fig­ure but said that it was in line with the ECB’S prior ex­pec­ta­tions.

In ev­i­dence given later to the se­lect com­mit­tee, Andy Nash, for­merly the chair­man of Som­er­set and an in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor of the ECB, said that the Hun­dred would cost about £60mil­lion a year, once pay­ments to the counties dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion were taken into ac­count. The ECB ex­pects an­nual in­come from the tour­na­ment to be around £51 mil­lion a year, which would equate to a loss of around £7 mil­lion from the to­tal £58 mil­lion costs, in­clud­ing county pay­ments.

Nash at­tacked the Hun­dred as an “almighty punt” and “reck­less gam­ble”, and said the tour­na­ment posed an “ex­is­ten­tial risk to the game.”

He added: “This has the po­ten­tial to split the game, it has the po­ten­tial to bank­rupt the game. Fans feel as though the game is be­ing taken away from them. They do not sup­port the Hun­dred and can see the dam­age it might do to the other three for­mats.”

MPS asked a range of ques­tions about the rationale for the con­tro­ver­sial Hun­dred tour­na­ment, which launches next sum­mer.

“T20 works for a mar­ket. We are look­ing for a new mar­ket as well as the ex­ist­ing one,” ECB chair­man Colin Graves said, adding that the tour­na­ment was nec­es­sary to at­tract ter­res­trial broad­cast­ers.

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