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MP urges all sides to agree plan for Headingley Stadium

March 28, 2017 12:15 PM

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West and Vice President of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, has stated that an agreed plan must be put in place as soon as possible to ensure the development of Headingley stadium, to secure test cricket status.

Recently Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington expressed concerns that if the Headingley Stadium redevelopment does not go ahead, it could spell the end of a once in a century opportunity. Many others have also expressed this concern, including former England captain Michael Vaughan, as the cost of losing test cricket status to Leeds would be enormous, costing the city millions of pounds in lost revenue.

Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club are working together on an overall £38m development of the stadium that is needed to secure international and test cricket at the famous venue. However Yorkshire have already stated that there is a funding shortfall which could jeopardise the whole development. If issues are not solved by next week the main stand will not be ready in time for its four 2019 Cricket World Cup games.

Yorkshire must find £16.5m to build a new main stand to guarantee international cricket at Headingley post-2019.

Last year, the executive board of Leeds City Council voted to grant Yorkshire £4m only for that proposal to gain insufficient support from councillors. Although Yorkshire have been working tirelessly on the rest of the £12.5m jigsaw, there remains a funding shortfall that threatens not only the future of international cricket at Leeds, but also the likelihood that Headingley would be a hosting venue in the new city-based T20 franchise competition set to start in 2020.

Gary Hetherington has also warned that any such failure will have "serious implications" for Super League club Rhinos, too, who plan to put £22.5m towards redeveloping its South Stand and the joint-Main Stand.

The development is essential for Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie, particularly with Leeds Rhinos being one of the top rugby league sides in the country and one of the best supported.

Greg Mulholland has contacted Leeds City Council, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rugby asking for a meeting to assist with a plan being agreed.

August 2015, blankGreg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West said:

"It is very concerning that the delays to this important development could now jeopardise the future of international and test cricket at the Stadium. The loss of these important fixtures would have a huge impact on the club, and the local economy, especially as Headingley is due to host an Ashes match in 2019.

"Headingley Stadium has a very proud history with the English cricket team, including Ian Botham leading England to a fantastic Ashes victory in 1981, and it would be devastating if this venue was lost.

"I would urge everyone involved to get together as soon as possible and ensure that a plan is in place to ensure this development moves forward and that the future of Test cricket at the stadium is secured."