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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 12:28 UK

Lancashire in record loss as chief fears for the future

Cricket

Lancashire have posted record annual losses of £546,000 for the financial year 2009/10, only their second loss in 22 years.

The club recently committed to a £32m re-development of Old Trafford.

Chief executive Jim Cumbes said: "We've gone into debt to the tune of £15m with this re-development. But the business plan says we can pay that back.

"Without hosting pop concerts last year, we'd have been in an even stickier mess than we are in now."

Cumbes has also spoken of his fears for the future of fellow counties that are forced by the ECB bidding process to compete to host Test match cricket.

"They're frightened to death because they have no other source of income other than cricket, yet have a ground to maintain," he said.

"Some clubs cannot afford what is being asked," he said.

There's no point going into debt just to get a Test match.

Jim Cumbes

Cumbes envisages a situation where some counties will come under financial pressure if a lucrative franchise-based T20 competition cannot be founded to offset the cost of running a cricket club.

"It's got to be affordable. There's no point going into debt just to get a Test match.

"We had a staff here last year that was capable of running a Test match. We can't just fire them all in a year we don't get a Test match."

Without a franchise-based competition to fill the non-Test grounds, Lancashire will have to consider some stark choices - but Cumbes is confident they will manage the balancing act.

"It's probably got to happen. The IPL is the fourth-most successful sporting competition in the world; the concept works in South Africa and Australia.

"We've got to make it attractive enough to fill our grounds."



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