THE controversial new cricket competition The Hundred has been suspended for a year.

Originally slated for a multi-million pound launch this summer, the ECB's new tournament was controversial, with many county fans concerned what this might do to their clubs.

The new 100-ball competition, featuring eight city-based franchises rather than the traditional 18 counties, was due to begin in July but will now be pushed back to the summer of 2021.

The decision was made for three primary reasons: the likely unavailability of overseas talent, the probability of empty stadiums should any cricket be possible this summer and the logistical challenges caused by the amount of staff on furlough at host venues.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, one of The Hundred's main advocates, has faced down much criticism of the project over the past couple of years and has doubled down on its importance.

He said: "The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer.

"Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won't get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game."

Earlier this week, Worcestershire’s white ball skipper Moeen Ali backed the idea of suspending the hundred.

Moeen, 32, said: “It is better for it to be delayed. As players we want The Hundred played with all best players around the world available to come and play so it makes more sense that way.

“It is probably going to be too much to squeeze in the last couple of months of the season. It would be hard work to squeeze in The Hundred as well.

“It is such a big deal for us in this country and we want it to be played when everything is right and no problems around the world.

“The mood and wave cricket was on in England last year made it an amazing opportunity this year to play The Hundred but obviously with what has happened around the world that is going to be harder now.

“If we can get other international players who were not available this year to make The Hundred even stronger for next year through a mini-draft then we an attract a new audience to come and watch cricket.”

The England all-rounder was set to captain Birmingham Phoenix but he pointed out any schedule will already be bloated without a fourth format being added to the calendar.

The ECB developed its eight-team competition as a means of capturing a new audience, a prospect that would have increased after England’s triumphant World Cup campaign during a memorable summer last year.

The tournament is projected to lose money in its early years, not unusual for a new event, but the ECB hope the increase in new supporters, plus broadcast and staging interest from overseas will help it turn a significant profit.

Initial ticket sales of more than 180,000 were welcomed as a positive by the governing body.