Durham penalised for salary breach
Durham have become the first county to be penalised by the England and Wales Cricket Board for breaking salary cap regulations.
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A fine of £2,500 and deduction of two-and-a-half points in the LV= County Championship and 0.25 points in both the CB40 and Friends Life t20 next year is the price Durham must pay for a category one breach.
The team salary payment regulations, introduced in 2010, stipulate that none of the 18 first-class counties should pay playing staff en masse more than £1.8million a year.
Durham admitted a breach of the limit, and even brought it to the ECB's notice - and for those reasons, in accordance with the authority of Thursday's independent tribunal hearing at Lord's, the points deductions applicable were halved.
An ECB statement said: "The tribunal concluded that the sanctions in accordance with the regulations should reflect the fact that it was Durham who notified the ECB of the breach and Durham had co-operated fully and openly."
The breach is the lowest of five categories, and Durham made it clear that their overpayment "represents less than 2% of the salary cap".
In their own statement, they added: "The ECB has acknowledged that the club has at all times operated within the spirit of the regulation; declaring the breach to ECB at the earliest opportunity and co-operating fully with the ECB throughout the process.
"The team salary payment regulations were introduced at a time when Durham was enjoying particular success and seeking to secure the long-term commitment of key players.
"In its submission to the ECB, Durham CCC explained the difficulties faced by counties who wish to remain competitive in all competitions and produce players for England.
"In particular, the lack of certainty relating to players in the England system means that it is impossible to have absolute certainty around the final salary bill."
Penalties rise to reflect the level of seriousness of the breach, so that a category five offence would carry a 25-point championship deduction, and 2.5 in the other competitions.
At all times, the fine - before any discretion is applied - is equal to the amount of the breach.