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Finance

Yorkshire ‘weighing up’ sale of Headingley

Featured image credit: Mtaylor848/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has said it is “making strong progress” on securing its long-term future, amid a report that it is considering selling its historic Headingley Stadium in an effort to raise funds.

The embattled Leeds-based club has been attempting to raise £20m (€23.4m/$25.3m) for months in an effort to ensure its survival. Yorkshire owes £15.9m to the family trust of former chairman Colin Graves and is also seeking further investment of £5m.

The club’s most recent set of accounts, detailing losses of £2.2m, warned that without further funding of £3.5m, Yorkshire “will not be able to continue as a going concern”. The Daily Mail today (Friday) reports that the club is considering the sale of Headingley, its home since 1891, adding that it has recently had the venue valued at around £23m.

Yorkshire is said to be targeting a model through which the club would be granted a 10-year lease to play at Headingley, with the option to buy the stadium back. Yorkshire is believed to have rejected several offers to buy the club outright as they want to ensure it remains member controlled.

A sale of Headingley would provide funds required to pay off the £15.9m owed to the Graves family trust, along with years of running costs. Yorkshire has been hit with financial difficulties following the fall-out from the high profile Azeem Rafiq racism scandal two years ago.

Headingley retained its status as a venue for international matches after Yorkshire members passed three special resolutions in March 2022 as part of reform efforts following the racism scandal that enveloped the organisation.

Revenue generated by this summer’s Ashes Test between England and Australia is said to have enabled Yorkshire to pay its bills and get through the season, but the club faces further issues in October when a repayment of £500,000 is due to the Graves trust.

Yorkshire acquired Headingley in 2005 from the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company in a £12m deal that resulted in the club securing a 15-year international match-staging deal from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Yorkshire chief executive, Stephen Vaughan, told Mail Sport: “We are making strong progress on securing the long-term future of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and look forward to announcing positive developments shortly.”