Future of Lords as Englands pre-eminent cricket venue under threat

December 13th, 2008 - 3:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 13 (ANI): The future of Lords as Englands pre-eminent cricket venue could be threatened by plans that may see Test matches shared more widely around the country.

The MCC is also warning that their ambitious 200 million pounds project to redevelop Lords into one of the worlds top sporting arenas will placed in doubt by any reduction in lucrative high-profile international matches at the ground, The Telegraph reported.

The England & Wales Cricket Board are considering proposals for new five-year staging plans with the nine category A grounds which will guarantee them a minimum of 11 days international cricket over the course of the deal.

Lords has successfully bid for two Tests every summer since 2000, but under the new deal, which will run from 2012-2016, they will be guaranteed only a maximum two Test matches over the five-year period.

We are disappointed that the ECB dont recognise Lords as an iconic venue in the same way that Wembley and Twickenham are viewed by football and rugby, The Telegraph quoted Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of the MCC, as saying.

We had big plans to redevelop the ground. If we dont have assurance of major matches, which underpins future investment, we will have to ask ourselves if those plans are still justified as a major investment, he added.

The new longer staging agreements have been put forward to the ECB by the independent Major Matches Group, chaired by Lord Morris, and documents were sent out to the counties last week.

The 11-day packages cover only 50 per cent of Englands international matches and the rest will be put out to a tender process, similar to the one in place at the moment.

There are only seven of the 11-day packages available and with nine grounds bidding; there will be fierce competition.

An ECB spokesman said the new plan is an extension of the existing agreement and will enable counties to improve their financial planning. (ANI)

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