MCC 'wouldn't consider' renaming Lord's

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The Independent Online

The MCC has categorically denied selling the naming rights to Lord's is an option, maintaining proposed changes to the ground will be led by cricket, rather than commercial gains.

Plans for a £400million redevelopment of the stadium, entitled Vision for Lord's, which include an underground cricket academy and expanded museum, will in part be funded by flats around the periphery of the stadium, but the MCC are not looking into selling naming rights to the ground as a whole, or even individual stands.



MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw told BBC Radio Five Live: "I just want to reassure people that there's no way we would rename Lord's.



"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."



Bradshaw is adamant the traditions of the home of cricket are more important than the generation of revenue.



"To play at Lord's is a very special experience, Lord's has such a wonderful history and tradition and it's those traditions that we need to preserve," he added.



"The stands are named after Compton and Edrich and Warner. They're very famous names and 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."



Bradshaw believes Lord's does need to develop, but cricket will remain the focus.



"Whatever we do in terms of the vision, it's cricket-led, it's not commercial-led," he said.



"We've taken a lot of things into consideration in terms of the design, not from a commercial perspective, but a cricket perspective.



"We want Lord's to continue to be the best ground in the world and we believe that we need to move with the times and make some developments, but keep that ambience and the things that make it very special to come to Lord's.



"What we plan to do is increase the capacity of the ground, we'd like to have more spectators coming in and be able to watch cricket.



"It's a vision for the future that includes cricket academy, state-of-the-art facilities, both for members and for the general public."



The MCC later released a statement which read: "MCC would like to clarify that an agreement to move towards a planning application to Westminster City Council is subject to three clear conditions.



1 - The financial viability of the proposed development as a whole.



2 - Drawing up an agreement with the Rifkind Levy Partnership, who own a strip of land at the Nursery End at Lord's.



3 - Obtaining from the England and Wales Cricket Board a clear understanding of, and an agreement regarding, the number of Test matches and one-day internationals likely to be played in England and Wales, and particularly at Lord's, during the coming years.



"Upon satisfaction of these three conditions, the MCC Committee will put forward a resolution to the club's 18,000 members to proceed to the next stage of the project, which would involve pre-application consultations with Westminster, the GLA and other interested parties, including local communities.



"In response to comments in The Times, MCC wishes to point out that its cricket ground in St John's Wood is named after Thomas Lord, and the club has no intention of the ground being named after anyone else.



"The committee has not discussed the possibility that particular areas within Lord's might be re-named. The media centre, since its construction in 1999, has borne the name of a commercial sponsor and this has not met with any opposition. MCC will continue to sell naming rights for the Media Centre.



"Finally, MCC was disappointed by the indication that Lord's is used only sporadically during the winter months.



The club wishes to clarify that the ground is used by many external organisations on non-match days and that this part of MCC's activities is in a financially robust state.



"Lord's is used on an increasing basis for a variety of different events all year round."



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