PCA reveal concerns about contracts and future structure of domestic county game

T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston
The new "100-ball" competition will co-exist with, rather than replace, the existing T20 Blast competition from 2020

County cricketers have expressed fears about signing contracts beyond the 2019 season as part of wider concerns about the structure of the domestic game.

A new competition featuring eight city-based teams will begin in 2020.

It will start in the same year as a new deal which will see some domestic cricket on to free-to-air television.

The Professional Cricketers Association said the major concern of players was "a lack of information and clarity regarding the new tournament".

The views of players from all 18 counties were taken into account at meetings attended by 85% of professional players in England and Wales.

However, the sessions were completed before England and Wales Cricket Board plans to implement a new "100 balls" format were announced on 19 April.

A meeting between PCA chairman and Worcestershire batsman Daryl Mitchell, PCA representatives and the ECB will take place on 8 May to discuss the new competition.

Meanwhile, Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan is to chair an 11-person working group which will look to "refine the structure of men's county cricket that has been agreed for 2020".

Also in the group are England director of cricket Andrew Strauss and three other county directors of cricket - Warwickshire's Ashley Giles, Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon and Keith Greenfield of Sussex.

One of the fears expressed by some players was that if they sign a contract beyond next season they could miss out on the benefits of the new broadcast deal a year later.

"[Players] want assurances a fair proportion of the money will be spent on player salaries throughout the professional game," said a statement.

There is also a worry about where the 50-over domestic competition sits alongside the four-day County Championship, the new "100 ball" tournament and the T20 Blast, which will continue in its current format.

"The future of domestic cricket as a whole was a lead topic, with a fear the 50-over competition is being devalued with no clear pathway to one-day international cricket, while there is apprehension on how the County Championship will fit into the structure," added the statement.

"Restrictions on being released to play overseas is also an area the PCA will seek clarification on."

How will city-based tournament work?

  • Eight new teams playing 36 games over a 38-day summer window, with four home games per team
  • No scheduling overlap with the existing T20 Blast competition
  • An Indian Premier League-style play-off system to give more incentive for finishing higher up the league
  • A players' draft, with squads of 15 including three overseas players
  • Counties guaranteed at least £1.3m each per year

'A lot of questions remain unanswered'

"We have had extremely open conversations and listened to every viewpoint across the counties," added Mitchell.

"There are a lot of questions which remain unanswered and this is becoming a concern to the membership.

"Along with non-executive chairman Matthew Wheeler, I will be heavily involved in making sure these concerns are eased as we aim to secure the future of professional cricketers in England and Wales."

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