The financial pressure due to increasing debts facing English county clubs is such that there is a strong possibility of Indian Premier League franchises taking them over, according to a leading sports business and marketing expert.

In a warning to financially struggling clubs, Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University said that the desperate financial conditions in the county sides are such that they leave themselves open to takeovers by IPL franchises.

“In terms of revenue-generation, cricket clubs are really feeble. If financial pressures become such that cricket clubs need to think in a different way about what they are doing, then it may well be that mergers and takeovers take place; we could see an Indian Twenty20 franchise take control of a county cricket club,” he said.

A increasing number of high-profile counties are currently mired in financial difficulties - raising fears that at least one of the 18 could cease to exist sooner rather than later.

“That’s the apocalyptic scenario, the real nightmare. I guess it could happen because, as we know, capacity utilisation is poor and off-field revenue generation is not particularly good,” Chadwick said in the latest edition of the ’Wisden Cricketer’ magazine.

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