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Explained: Why Middlesex are playing two ‘home’ 2024 T20 Blast games in Essex

Chelmsford County Ground will host two 'home' Middlesex T20 Blast matches in 2024
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Middlesex have issued clarification after copping backlash for the decision to host two of their home T20 Blast matches at the County Ground at Chelmsford in Essex in 2024.

Members and fans responded angrily to the news yesterday, which was issued alongside the full domestic schedule for the 2024 English summer. The criticism included the distance members who live in London would have to travel to get to the matches at Chelmsford, especially given both the games in question are scheduled for the middle of the week. The only other Middlesex home game of the competition set to be played away from Lord’s will be played at Radlett Cricket Club, one of Middlesex’s outgrounds.


Following the backlash against the news, the club issued further information on the reasoning behind its decision today (November 24).

“It is clear from the response to that announcement, from the many comments made by members on social media, and from those members who have contacted the Club directly, that we need to offer further clarity on the rationale for this decision to provide members with more insight and a greater understanding of why this difficult decision has been made,” read a media release from the club.

“First and foremost, we understand the initial reaction from members – as at face value, the logic of Middlesex playing two ‘home’ matches at the ground of another county seems is difficult to understand. Members have our assurance that this decision has not been taken lightly, and there are several reasons why we have had to do so – most importantly to ensure the financial stability of the Club moving forwards.”

Middlesex were handed a £50,000 fine and a suspended points deduction by the ECB in September this year for breaching the board’s financial rules. The charges alleged that the club had spent money allocated for youth and grassroots cricket on their professional set-up at Lord’s. There has been an ongoing probe by the ECB into Middlesex’s finances over the last several months, with alleged financial irregularities going back several years in the club’s accounts.

The statement from Middlesex clarified that the club will receive a share of the gate revenue from both matches held in Essex and a share of the hospitality revenue. “Essentially, playing at Chelmsford instead of an out-ground club ground already saves the Club a significant sum on the costs of setting up the game,” read the statement. “When potential revenue from gate receipts and hospitality are factored in, the Club stands to potentially be making a financial upturn of six figures plus.”

Unlike all other counties, Middlesex do not own their main ground, with the MCC the landlords of Lord’s. As well as hampering their finances, this also means they do not have unfettered access to the ground. They explained that, with the dates of the Blast games for which they had to seek alternative venues spread apart, they would have had to set up at an outground three times, making the expense prohibitive. Their one fixture at Radlett is followed by a Charlotte Edwards Cup game for Middlesex Women, allowing them to spread the cost of hosting across the two days.

The statement also clarified that Middlesex members will be able to access the match free as part of their membership, and that Essex members will have to pay for tickets to the games, and won’t be able to access the pavilion and other Middlesex-only areas during the fixture.

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