Dear First Class Counties,
We are writing to you as the Cricket Supporters’ Association on behalf of concerned cricket fans from across England and Wales who want to have a say in the game that they love.
As the season nears the end, we are urging all First-Class Counties to pledge that existing members, fans and spectators will have the opportunity to be involved in the upcoming season review and be consulted on any decisions being taken on the County cricket schedule for 2022 and beyond.
We are asking for you to confirm with us and your fanbase, the logistics as to how these consultations will take place and want to offer the support of the Cricket Supporters’ Association when and wherever possible in assisting you in making this happen.
The reason we are requesting this now is that a recent Cricket Supporters’ Association survey revealed the fans frustration about not having a say in the game with 93% revealing that they want to work with the ECB and stakeholders within cricket to ensure the game evolves and is relevant. 65% do not think the ECB are considering existing supporters when making important decisions about the future of cricket and only 32% think the ECB are looking after the best interest of cricket.
It is now more important than ever to get a detailed consultation organised that really does give fans a voice within the game they love. We are pushing for this to go beyond fans being simply presented with agreed plans but allows for a thorough discussion to take place and for fans views to part of the process.
The way we see this happening are three-fold:
- Members asked for feedback in terms of the scheduling and formats played in the 2021. This feedback is then presented to the ECB and discussed when making plans for 2022
- Member consultation takes place on any plans received from the ECB and voting take place as to whether members of the Club (the owners) agree to the plans being discussed
- Each County has a member-elected representative on their Board and on relevant Committees (we acknowledge this already happens at some counties). The CSA is also asking for a seat on the Board of the ECB for a fan elected representative
We are sure you agree that as Registered Society’s, established because of its members, having their involvement in decisions being taken on their behalf is hugely beneficial for all parties.
To assist in the process, we will speak with non-county members who are county cricket supporters through our own channels (social media, website, newsletter) and we will be feeding this information directly back to the ECB.
As our recent survey showcased the priorities for the 2022 season (May, June, July, and August) for county members and non-members were Test Matches (23%), County Championship (22%), T20Blast and ODI’s (13%). We acknowledge that the 2022 season will again be a standalone season, with a longer plan being created for 2023 and onwards but it is imperative for members to have their say now on what cricket they will be able to support in 2022.
The importance of the County Championship for fans as a breeding ground for future England test players is clear with 98% agreeing with that sentiment and 94% are worried the County Championship is not being prioritised enough so that it can be an effective breeding groups for future players.
The ethos of the Cricket Supporters’ Association is to give fans a voice within the game and to play a positive role within cricket and so are keen for you to pledge that this is the start of getting fans more involved so that all our insight, experience and passion can make a difference.
As the Cricket Supporters’ Association, we want to help the counties survive and thrive and believe that this can be achieved through getting members more involved and having a say within their club. We can help you do that, and so we hope that this is the first step of our starting to work together more closely.
Thanks for your time in reading this letter.
Becky Fairlie-Clarke, CEO of the Cricket Supporters’ Association and the Cricket Supporters’ Association Board.