London: The County Championship will return to two divisions next season following a vote by the chairs of the 18 First-Class Counties on Thursday.
The return to a two-division County Championship, after two Covid-affected seasons, will see the competition move to the 10:8 structure that was agreed by the First-Class Counties prior to the pandemic.
"Counties will play in two divisions. There will be 10 counties in Division One and eight in Division Two with a two-up, two-down promotion-and-relegation system. Each county is due to play 14 County Championship matches," said the England and Wales Cricket Board in an official statement.
The counties will be placed into the division that they had qualified to compete in had the 2020 County Championship taken place. The England and Wales Cricket Board's role ahead of this week's vote has been to facilitate discussions between the First-Class Counties and provide the options available to them.
The priority of those discussions has been to determine when and how a return to the two-division structure - featuring 10 counties in Division One and eight in Division Two as agreed by counties following the 2018 Domestic Playing Programme (DPP) - could best be achieved.
The process to transition to that structure had begun during the 2019 LV= Insurance County Championship. At the end of that season, three counties were promoted from Division Two (Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire) while the last-placed Division One county (Nottinghamshire) was relegated.
A two-division County Championship has, however, not taken place since then due to Covid-19.
County Championship 2022 structure for Division One will be--Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire, Yorkshire.
For Division Two, the structure will be--Derbyshire, Durham, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Worcestershire.