The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a £25m (€28.2m/$30.9m) increase to its Infrastructure Fund for First-Class Counties (FCCs) over the next five years in a move to further boost the fan experience at grounds across the country.

The fresh investment follows on from the £50m of FCC infrastructure funding that the ECB pledged earlier this year when launching its ‘Inspiring Generations’ strategy for the 2020 to 2024 period.

The now-£75m fund will go directly towards helping the FCCs further maintain and improve their facilities and operations. Funds will also be used to develop sustainable business plans and enhance the in-venue experience.

The ECB also hopes the funding will help FCCs maintain the new venue standards recently introduced by the ECB Board. These standards will seek to ensure fans’ match-day experience is comfortable, safe and entertaining.

Scott Smith, the ECB’s chief financial officer, said: “The FCCs form the heart of cricket in England and Wales and it’s imperative that we support all the amazing work they do to provide fans, players and staff with the best facilities and experience.

“The additional funding demonstrates our commitment to partnering with the FCCs as they develop sustainable plans and work towards achieving their ambitions for their venues.”

Rob Andrew, chief executive of Sussex County Cricket Club, added: “It’s at venues like ours in Hove where children become inspired to pick up a bat and ball, new fans experience the excitement of live cricket and life-long supporters cheer on their local team with their friends and family.

“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all FCCs when I say that our priority is to ensure everyone visiting a cricket match thoroughly enjoys their experience. Having great facilities is big part of that and we look forward to working with ECB to further build on our offer for fans.”

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