Northamptonshire County Cricket Club could become a limited company as the board of directors look to secure its long-term future.
The club has been in a perilous financial position for some time and they are now looking to get a group of investors together to raise at least £1m.
However, this would not be permitted as a members’ club and would therefore involve a radical overhaul of the ownership.
A new limited company would be established to allow the investment and that body would then own Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.
The directors say much of the investment would come from people already involved - either as a benefactor or supporter - with the club and there would be a legal provision in place to stop any development of the ground taking place.
The proposal was put to members at the annual meeting tonight (Thursday) and there is expected to be an EGM in the next couple of months where a vote will be taken on whether to proceed.
The statement from the board of directors read:
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is seeking to raise an equity investment of a minimum of £1 million through a group of investors wishing to secure the future of the club by taking ownership of it.
It is expected that the equity investment will allow the club to reduce short-term debt and provide sufficient working capital to enhance the club’s activities both on and off the field. Whilst the current cash-flow situation has been stabilised - and the club is embarking on the new season with confidence - it doesn’t provide the long-term financial security that the club requires to prosper and grow.
As NCCC is currently constituted as a members’ club, a new legal framework would need to be established to allow extra equity to be brought into the organisation.
The proposal is to allow 10 to 15 major investors, most of whom already have links to the club as supporters and benefactors, to provide a minimum of £50K each.
Existing NCCC Members will also have the opportunity to buy shares with a minimum subscription of £250.
A new limited company will be formed which would become the owner of NCCC, subject to the consent of current members. It is envisaged that an EGM will be convened for this purpose within the next few months.
It is expected that the current Board of Directors will remain in place to ensure continuity and a smooth handover.
Members will elect a Director to represent Members’ interests on the new Board.
The overriding priority of the current Board of Directors is to ensure continuity of cricket at the County Ground.
In the highly unlikely event, at any point in the future, of cricket ceasing there, the proceeds from the sale of the ground could ONLY be used to repay debt and investors, and any balance would be distributed for the benefit of cricket in Northamptonshire.
There will be an entrenched legal provision, which effectively prevents the ground from being developed for any non-cricket purpose.
This means there will be no benefit to any individual investor should the ground ever need to be sold.
What would this financial investment mean for the club?
A considerably reduced debt.
Lower interest payments.
Less dependence upon finance from other external sources.
More money to invest in players, coaching and youth development as well as the non-cricket and commercial side of the club.
In other words, a much stronger, long-term future.
Season ticket memberships and other ticket arrangements will continue as per the current format, and existing Life Memberships would be honoured.
Gavin Warren, chairman of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, said: “As a Board, we are not just concerned about this year, next year and the year after.
“Our priority is to ensure that the club is functioning and prospering in 100 years’ time. We feel this proposal makes that much more likely.”