Tykes look to a life beyond Headingley

MOVING HOME: Yorkshire consider cricket pastures new as Derby pitch future football plans outside the Baseball Ground
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The Independent Online
Yorkshire County Cricket Club have commissioned a study on the feasibility of leaving Headingley for a new stadium.

Dissatisfaction with limited car parking and sharing the complex with Leeds rugby league club have led to the decision. Reports claim the committee and membership are leaning towards a move to a new home - thought to be a greenfield site near Wakefield - even though Yorkshire have an option to take control of their half of Headingley.

"We could possibly own Headingley because we are in discussions with the rugby club to buy our half," Chris Hassell, Yorkshire's chief executive, said. "If you could say in the summer the ground was ours and in the winter it was rugby's then it would be fine but with the Super League playing in the summer now it causes problems.

"Even if they were to give us the ground, the problem is that we would need to spend pounds 10-pounds 20m to bring it up to scratch - sometimes it is better to knock a house down and start again from scratch. If we moved to a new greenfield site with plenty of land, we could use land as practice pitches for the community and utilise it as car parking space for Test matches."

If the feasibility study into a new base - expected to take three to six months - is positive, Hassell believes Yorkshire can provide a 25,000 capacity stadium which would rival Lord's. "I believe this is the way forward for us," he said. "I have been to Huddersfield and Middlesbrough's new [football] grounds and they all report bigger crowds because it is a family day out.

"We have to build a stadium with decent-sized seats and ample leg room so you can relax. It would be an experience to come to a cricket match."

Hassell, who thinks the new ground could be in use in three to five years if there are no hitches, also plans shops, a museum and possible tours around the ground, including using the press box as a lecture theatre where they can bring down a screen and show a film on the history of Yorkshire.

"If everything went as I would want it, it would be a Test arena to rival Lord's for facilities - I'm sure people would flock to it if it was close to a motorway," he said.

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