Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will fully fund all its playing tours from 2009 as it seeks to develop the game throughout the world.

In 2008 MCC undertook seven tours in places as diverse as Uganda and Denmark, with tours granted A', B' or C' status depending on the strength of the opposition.

A' Tours were fully funded by the Club; MCC made some contribution to B' tours; whereas players on C' Tours had to meet their own costs. From 2009, all tours will be given equal status and funding.

MCC will undertake around four tours a year and will work with ICC to target countries which can fully benefit from MCC playing members' coaching skills and passion.

MCC will send a team to a European country every year plus teams to three out of four ICC regions of Asia, the Americas, East Asia/Pacific and Africa. In 2009 teams will go to Croatia, Japan, Indonesia, Nepal and Mozambique. There will also be special tours to the USA and Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of the first ever cricket tour across the Atlantic.

All playing members who form a 2,000-strong MCC squad' will be able to compete for a tour place. Teams will still be picked to reflect the strength of opposition in the destination country.

John Stephenson, MCC's Head of Cricket, explained the thinking behind the changes: "MCC is committed to developing cricket across the globe and we believe the best way of doing that is targeting greater resources to slightly fewer tours.

"As well as playing for the Club, tour members will provide coaching and expertise to leave a strong legacy in countries they visit.

"Representing MCC abroad is a pinnacle of many players' careers and is both a privilege and an honour. We want to reward those players who have shown consistency and loyalty in MCC matches, whilst taking their ability to pay out of the equation.

"All tours are equally important to the Club and have a great potential to develop cricket in the host country, and I believe this new system reflects that."

Overseeing these changes will be ex-Somerset wicket-keeper Rob Turner, who will assume the chairmanship of the MCC Tours sub-Committee on 1 October. Turner enjoyed a 14-year career at Taunton and played for England A' in Bangladesh and New Zealand in 1999-2000. He now plays regularly for MCC in out-matches and has been on five tours.