Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin have urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to rethink its host venue plan for the 2027 Ashes series after Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley were not included on the list.
The ECB announced last month that the 2027 men’s Ashes series will take place at Lord’s (Middlesex), the Kia Oval (Surrey), Edgbaston (Warwickshire), Trent Bridge (Nottinghamshire) and, for the first time, the Ageas Bowl (Hampshire).
Trent Bridge will therefore be the northernmost venue and the decision to exclude Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley has irked cricket fans in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
In a letter addressed to the ECB, Burnham and Brabin said: “Headingley and Old Trafford are two of England’s most iconic cricket grounds, and home to historic Ashes moments from Ian Botham’s heroics in 1981 to Ben Stokes’ own ‘Miracle of Headingley’ in 2019.
“Very few grounds attract support as passionate or indeed as diverse as Headingley and Old Trafford – as a number of England players themselves have acknowledged in recent days.
“We understand that the ECB’s criteria for awarding Test matches includes maximising attendances and ensuring a geographic spread of matches. It feels even more remarkable therefore that an area so passionate about cricket, with a population of over 15 million people, misses out on a men’s Ashes Test in 2027 whilst the South hosts three.
“It does not feel right that at a time when cricket needs to do more to spread interest in the game around the country that London consistently hosts three Tests every summer. Next year for example, Lord’s hosts one third of England men’s Tests whilst Headingley doesn’t get any.
“The rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire within cricket is legendary, but this is an issue that unites both sides of the Pennines. We urge you to think again and ensure people in the North of England get the opportunity to witness more iconic Ashes moments in 2027.”
Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley have been pencilled in to host Ashes Tests in 2031, along with Lord’s, the Kia Oval and Trent Bridge. Headingley will also host a women’s Test match between England and Australia in the summer of 2027.
In 2025, Emirates Old Trafford and Headingley will each host a men’s Test match against India. The former will also host an England vs India Test in 2029.
Headingley and Emirates Old Trafford both hosted a Test during this year’s Ashes series, which will conclude at the Kia Oval later this week. The fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford ended in a draw yesterday (Sunday) as heavy rain prevented play, resulting in Australia retaining the Ashes.