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Kent Cricket Club facing uncertain future if Tests return to free-to-air

The future of Kent County Cricket Club could be at risk if live Test match coverage is allowed to return to terrestrial television.

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier
Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier

That is the view of Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier. He has written to sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe in response to the publication last November of the David Davies Report on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr Davies, the former BBC sports correspondent and FA communications director, recommended home Ashes Test matches should return to free-to-air television.

But Mr Brazier (pictured right) believes money earned from commercial broadcasters would be hard to match.

He said: "The popularity of cricket is on the increase and clubs are therefore in need of more investment, not less.

"I would not like to see the future of the sport threatened through lack of investment."

Jamie Clifford
Jamie Clifford

His views are echoed by Kent acting chief executive Jamie Clifford (pictured left), who believes the move would threaten continued investment in the game, estimating a £100m income loss across England and Wales over a four-year period.

He has written to Mr Brazier and other local MPs, including shadow sports and olympics minister Hugh Robertson.

He said: "I am extremely concerned that should the proposals be accepted by the government, the health of cricket in Kent will undoubtedly suffer."

Since 2006, live coverage of home Test matches has been provided by Sky Sports, with edited highlights on Channel 5.

England’s series win against Australia last summer was the first domestic Ashes series to be broadcast on subscription television, fuelling calls for it to return to free-to-air.

Test match cricket on Sky or free-to-air? Let us know what you think.

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