Published: 11:30, 24 April 2017
Kent will not support the ECB's controversial plans for the new city-based franchise T20 competition.
The club is one of 41 members of the ECB with a vote on whether to change the existing constitution to pave the way for a new eight-team competition from 2020 but revealed on Monday that after studying feedback from supporters they will abstain in the ECB ballot - the only option open to the club other than backing the proposal.
The ECB need 31 votes in support of their plans to pass and though Kent join Essex and Middlesex in confirming they will not vote in favour, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Somerset and Leicestershire have already claimed they will vote for the change and it is expected that the measure will pass, with other votes coming from some of the other 18 First Class Counties, 21 County Boards in non-FC counties, the MCC and the Minor Counties Cricket Association.
Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford said: “Whilst Kent Cricket does not wish to be at odds with the ECB, the proposals for the future direction of the game as they stand are such that the club cannot actively endorse them.
"The club has therefore taken the view that an abstention is the appropriate reaction to the proposed change of ECB articles."
He added: "We believe that our stance reflects the anxiety there is amongst non-Test match grounds - those unlikely to host new teams – that their role as active players in the future of the game is at risk.
"However, understanding that it is now inevitable that the proposals will receive the support that they need to be enacted, we hope that we might act as a 'critical friend’ in their further development."
Mr Clifford said he hopes the 'inevitable' changes can be altered to ensure the game benefits, adding: "There are far-reaching consequences to what is proposed and we hope that the plans will now evolve to the overall betterment of the whole game in England and Wales and that ECB’s hoped for outcomes around the profile of the game, participation and finance are delivered.
“Everyone at the club is a passionate supporter of the game. We want it to thrive in all its forms.
"There is no way, as cricket lovers, that we will seek to obstruct or derail the game's future direction. You can expect that we will do all we can to make sure that it continues to flourish.
“Part of the evolution must be to ensure that county cricket is at the game’s heart long into the future. To see First-Class counties reduced to bit-part players will not be an acceptable outcome - no matter how high the profile of the new Twenty20 competition.
"Kent Cricket has a long, proud and rich history and our supporters should be reassured that we will do all we can to protect that.”