Warwickshire County Cricket Club

Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum

68 Willows Crescent, Balsall Heath, Birmingham B12 9ND Tel/Fax: 0121 440 2594

The Editor                                                                                        17 July 2013

Dear Sir

Warwickshire County Cricket Club

The Birmingham Mail reported that WCCC was negotiating sponsorship of £500,000 pa from an Indian-based company in exchange for a stadium name-change (28.06.13). Based on other precedents, this probably means the sponsor’s name will come first in the new title, with ‘Edgbaston’ or ‘Birmingham’ bringing up the rear-guard – if they appear at all. The council loaned WCCC £20million for its development because it wanted to retain international cricket in Birmingham, in order to create a positive image for the city in the global cricket arena. If a sponsor is to take first place in a name-change, Birmingham’s profile will be compromised and a core reason for investing so much money in the club would be negated. 

Does the search for sponsorship indicate that WCCC is in financial difficulties? A second article in the Birmingham Mail (16.07.13) suggests this may be the case. This article notes that WCCC is supposed to repay the council £1.3 million pa, but has had a payment holiday since March this year, which is scheduled to continue until September 2014. This amounts to an 18-month, or almost £2million, suspension of loan-repayments. 

The council is strapped for cash, resulting in swingeing cuts to essential services, and the possible sale of some of the city’s assets. Yet it is allowing WCCC to defer nearly £2 million  in payments at a time when this income is desperately needed. The loan is public money, but there seems to be limited transparency in the accounts and decision-making processes, nor any accountability of the council officials who sanctioned the loan in the first place. No one seems concerned to ask any questions or subject WCCC’s financial position to proper scrutiny, which, given the council’s funding problems, is astounding.

If the council is not prepared to address these concerns, perhaps Margaret Hodge will?

Yours faithfully


Organizer, Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum.

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