Cricket needs football-style transfer fees, says Sir Ian Botham

Durham chairman wants counties to be rewarded for academy investment

Ian Botham Durham County Cricket Club
Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham 
(Image credit: Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

Sir Ian Botham wants cricket to introduce a transfer fee system similar to that used in football.

Botham, chairman of county side Durham, called for the change after it was announced that the club’s Twenty20 captain Paul Coughlin was leaving to join Nottinghamshire.

Coughlin, who came up through Durham’s academy system, was offered a contract extension at the Northeast club, but chose to move on.

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In a statement on the Durham CCC website, Botham says he respects Coughlin’s right to change clubs, but wants counties to be rewarded for producing “exciting young English players”.

“Following Paul Coughlin’s decision to leave Durham County Cricket Club, I would like to express my frustration at a number of issues,” Botham said.

“Despite offering Paul – a player we have nurtured through our academy system and someone we hold in extremely high regard – a very competitive contract extension, our devoted support during periods of injury, continuous development and leadership opportunities, the player has chosen to leave Durham.

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“I respect Paul’s right to move clubs and understand that players at certain times in their careers may want to move on. However, it’s without question that our Second Division status, points penalties and difficult financial situation has [sic] created an opportunity for rival counties and intermediaries to unsettle players with promises of First Division cricket, greater England opportunities and immediate financial reward.

“It concerns me that the current arrangements within cricket do not reward counties that invest in academies and produce exciting young English players.”

Botham also hit out at a potential “conflict of interest” when county directors of cricket are also serving as England selectors.

He added: “The ECB is currently reviewing its partnership agreement with the counties and Durham will be making strong representations to properly reward those that invest in the development of local talent.

“They need to introduce a transfer or similar system of compensation, to remove the potential for conflict of interest by preventing serving directors of cricket acting as selectors and to better regulate the behaviour of agents.”

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