Mark Arthur, chief executive of English Country Cricket Club Yorkshire, has said that the team’s Headingley Stadium home ground could lose out on hosting key events if funding is not secured for a partial redevelopment of the venue.
Headingley is scheduled to host four games during the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but, according to ESPNcricinfo.com, Arthur has warned the stadium could lose these rights if work does not go ahead.
Arthur also said the club would not be able to apply to host any Test cricket after 2019, which would in turn harm its chances of staging matches in the new team Twenty20 competition due to start in 2020.
Yorkshire has been keen to carry out work on the stand that the stadium shared with the local rugby club. In 2015, the structure was partially condemned due to corrosion, and it had been hoped that it would be redeveloped ahead of the 2019 season and boost capacity from 17,000 to 20,000.
However, the club has been unable to raise the £17m (€19.5m/$21m) required for the latest stage of the redevelopment project, which is expected to cost £38m in total.
Arthur said the recent decision by Leeds City Council not to provide a grant of £4m for the initiative, as previously hoped, has forced the club to seek other options.
“Ever since the grant was withdrawn, we’ve been working with Leeds City Council and Leeds Rugby, and other entities, trying to find a way of funding the new stand,” Arthur said.
“If the board does come to a resolution at some stage in the near future, which means that we can recommend a financial proposal to the members, then we would call an extraordinary general meeting to go through the numbers.”
Arthur added that Gordon Hollins, chief operating officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national governing body, has written to the club to say that Headingley does not comply with the International Facilities Policy.
“This has to be resolved in the very near future or we will have run out of time to complete the stand by the start of the 2019 season,” Arthur said.
“The need to have a new stand has recently taken on greater importance with the introduction of a new T20 city-based competition from the year 2020. The host cities will be selected on the basis of facilities and catchment. It will be akin to hosting four additional one-day internationals per year and will bring further incremental income to those host grounds and cities.
“Not only is the clock ticking from a financial point of view, the ECB will be allocating international matches from 2020 to 2023 later this year as well as the new city based T20 host contracts.
“We need to reach an agreement with all parties in the next few weeks. We will be solvent, but we will not be able to solve our long-term debt so quickly.”