Durham cricket chiefs have expressed their disappointment after the financially-stricken club was handed a string of sanctions, including demotion, by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The north-east outfit have been relegated to Division Two of the County Championship, docked 48 points for next season and stripped of their Test match status after receiving a £3.8m bailout from the governing body.
Durham will also face a four-point penalty in the 2017 T20 Blast and two-point deduction in the One-Day Cup, while the club will also be subject to a salary cap until 2020, determined by the ECB.
“We are clearly disappointed at the position we are in and the sanctions we have accepted,” said Durham group chief executive David Harker.
“It is important that the club addresses its serious financial challenges and puts the business on a sustainable footing and therefore we have had to accept the conditions offered by the ECB.
“Other counties have faced serious financial challenges but have been able to find other solutions, including private investors, without this reliance on the ECB.”
Durham’s woe has provided a reprieve for Hampshire, who will be reinstated to Division One after being relegated to the second tier.
“I have enormous sympathy for Durham and the financial difficulties they find themselves in,” said Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove. “The fact that Hampshire benefit from all of this is fortuitous for the club and will give us all a great boost as we plan for next summer.”