Durham County Cricket Club
Durham County Cricket Club have been relegated from Division One Getty Images

Durham have been relegated from Division One of the County Championship because of their financial troubles. The North East county have agreed a £3.8m ($4.8m) financial aid package with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) - but will start next season in Division Two.

Durham are to be replaced in the league by Hampshire, who finished the 2016 season inside the relegation places. The club have lost the right to stage Test cricket at their Riverside ground, too, although it will be eligible for ODIs and T20 internationals.

Among the other sanctions imposed on Durham are a four-point penalty in the NatWest T20 Blast and a two-point penalty in the Royal London Cup. The club are also required to hand back non-player related ECB prize money for 2016 and will be subject to a more closely controlled salary cap until 2020.

"We've been working with Durham County Cricket Club throughout the year on how best to address their financial issues; we welcome the club's willingness to review its business model and management structures," ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison explained in a statement.

"There is no doubt that a strong, financially robust Durham County Cricket Club has a vital role to play in developing England talent, enriching our domestic competitions and underpinning the wider growth of the game in the North East."

Harrison said it is important clubs are aware of the "deterrents in place" to avoid a repeat in the future. "The financial package and associated conditions approved by the ECB Board reflect the unprecedented seriousness of Durham County Cricket Club's financial situation," Harrison explained.

"To help them through these difficulties and continue as a First Class County, this had to be addressed with immediate, practical financial assistance. We also have a wider responsibility to the whole game and need strong deterrents in place to preserve the game's integrity and financial stability."

Durham won the County Championship three times in six seasons between 2008 and 2013, and has provided numerous players for the England set-up in that time, including Ben Stokes and Mark Wood. However, they recently lost two of their most talented young players in Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, both of whom rejected new contract offers to join Surrey.