The boss of Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) insists Headingley WILL remain the home of cricket in the county, after questions over the funding of a major stadium redevelopment led to speculation about the future of the game in Leeds.
Mark Arthur, chief executive of YCCC, has told the YEP the club can “categorically rule out a move away from Headingley” regardless of whether or not a redevelopment of the North and South stands at the shared cricket and rugby league stadium goes ahead.
Speculation arose after we reported yesterday that a major £28.5m redevelopment,masterplan for Headingley Carnegie stadium had been given the green-light after two years of talks.
At a meeting of Leeds council’s City Plans Panel, which approved the scheme, there were concerns that - following the scrapping of a land sell-off plan to help fund the project - there may not be enough money for the redevelopment to go ahead.
Councillor Brian Selby said: “Let’s assume that this doesn’t go ahead - what else would do with this land?
“Would it be a car park, housing, supermarket?
“Because years ago , Yorkshire (cricket club) did talk about moving to Wakefield.”
In the 1990s, the club briefly considered leaving its world-famous ground in Leeds for a proposed new ground at Durkar in Wakefield. The scheme eventually collapsed and Yorkshire opted to stay at a refurbished Headingley.
Mr Arthur said: “We can categorically rule out a move away from Headingley should our vision for the redevelopment of the North/South Stand not be realised.
“We believe that a funding mechanism can be found and remain confident in delivering on our joint venture with Leeds Rugby in time for the Cricket World Cup and Ashes Test match in 2019.”
The redevelopment plan will see two stands at the cricket and rugby league stadium, which is shared by Yorkshire cricket and Leeds Rhinos, knocked down and rebuilt.
The revamp will help guarantee that international and test cricket can continue to be hosted in Leeds.
Work could now start on site as early as June this year, with completion expected early in 2019 in time for the Cricket World Cup,
The England and Wales Cricket Board has told Yorkshire County Cricket Club the joint north-south stand is “in need of significant upgrading” if it is to retain its status as a test match venue.