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18 Nov 2009 11:46
The owners of Lord’s on Wednesday denied that they were considering selling the naming rights to the famous cricket ground.
The chief executive of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Keith Bradshaw, said there was “no way” they would rebrand the home of cricket as part of a multi-million-pound redevelopment.
“I just want to reassure people that there’s no way we would rename Lord’s,” Bradshaw told BBC radio, denying a report in The Times newspaper.
“It’s the home of cricket, the hallowed turf. It’s not an option at all.
“It’s something that we wouldn’t consider, and in fact I even have a real problem even considering renaming the stands within the ground that are now dedicated to famous cricketers.
“It’s not on the agenda, it’s not on the cards and there’s no way we’ll be going down that path.”
The Times reported that the ground in northwest London could be turned into a super-stadium and its naming rights sold to a sponsor as part of a 400-million-pound redevelopment.
The revamp is designed to increase seating by about 7 500 and create an underground cricket academy, a brasserie and a bigger museum, it said.
The redevelopment, the biggest in the 195-year history of the ground, would be funded partly by selling luxury flats around its periphery for up to£ 1,2 million.
Although sponsoring sporting grounds is not new, the idea of renaming historic Lord’s is hugely controversial.
The Lord’s revamp could also offer naming rights for the ground’s seven stands, which are currently named after famous cricketers, The Times said.
But Bradshaw told the BBC: “I couldn’t see the day, certainly in my time, when we’d want to be naming them after a sponsor.
“I do feel to a degree that would be selling our soul.
“We have so much to offer at Lord’s and I think it’s about protecting our history for the future.”
The new design is in the hands of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron whose works include Britain’s Tate Modern art gallery and the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing.
The plans must be submitted to the local Westminster City Council after approval by MCC members.—AFP
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