Headingley: One of ten venues chasing England games Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has warned the current number of international grounds in England is “unsustainable”.
The six traditional Test grounds have been joined in recent years by Hampshire’s Rose Bowl, Glamorgan’s SWALEC Stadium and Durham’s Emirates ICG Stadium, while Bristol has one-day international status and Taunton is close to being handed the same.
As a result the battle for matches – especially the most desirable mid-summer Tests and higher-profile limited-overs games – is increasingly intense.
And Arthur, speaking after rain washed out day one of England’s second Test against New Zealand at Headingley without a ball being bowled, believes the current model is close to breaking point.
“Now there’s a huge bidding process with 10, soon to be 11, international grounds it’s unsustainable really,” he said.
“There’s a finite amount of international cricket in this country, to spread it among 11 international grounds and expect all those grounds to be at the same level as the top international grounds around the world, that’s not going to work.
“We’re all after a sustainable game of cricket at club, county and international level, we have to work together to get that balance.
“You don’t want clubs bankrupting themselves just to stage matches.
Clubs are asked to improve the fabric of the grounds, so you need positive cash-flow in order to do that.
“It used to be a rota basis.
You could set business plans according to when you knew you would miss out on a particular Test match.
On an eight-year programme you knew what you would be getting but now there is a huge bidding process.” Disparity Arthur also addressed the difference between the heaving crowds that are a feature of Lord’s and The Oval and the relative struggle to fill more northerly stadiums such as his own.
He admitted such a disparity existed but cautioned against favouring grounds in the south, purely on a monetary basis.
“It’s important to understand that not everybody has the spending capacity of those people that live in the south-east of the country,” he said.
“That has to be factored in by the major match group when they’re allocating matches.
There’s a finite amount of money that you can charge out in the provinces.
“One of the best things that happened to football was when Wembley was being rebuilt because for a period of time they took England games around the country and more people were able to watch and connect.
“That’s a unique factor of international cricket…it does get taken around.
“My understanding is that the major match group are looking at extra factors rather than pounds shilling and pence.
They have a greater responsibility rather than just awarding matches to those people who provide the most money.”
Rafa Benitez: Is he going to be the next Napoli coach? Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has clarified his earlier comments regarding a deal being agreed with Rafa Benitez to become the club’s new coach.
Earlier on Friday, De Laurentiis was quoted as saying that current interim Chelsea manager Benitez had agreed a two-year contract to take charge of Napoli.
However, De Laurentiis now appears to have backtracked slightly by stating that he is not in a position to announce who will replace Walter Mazzarri.
De Laurentiis has identified Mazzarri’s successor, but has claimed he is unable to publicly name his next coach until permission has been granted by his target’s current club.
“I’ve closed the negotiations for the new coach, but I can’t officially announce it until I get permission from the other club with which he’s under contract until June 30th,” De Laurentiis told reporters.
“I met in the hall of my hotel here in London a group of people who I have known for many years and I told them, ‘I got myself a gift’, but I don’t name names.
“It could be Pellegrini, Benitez, Blanc, Heynckes or someone we know who is looking for a bench for the future.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say due to UEFA’s rules, because I am waiting for the club who has him under contract to give us permission to announce it.” Of the names mentioned by De Laurentiis, former Liverpool boss Benitez is not the only potential candidate who will shortly be out of contract.
Manuel Pellegrini has already confirmed he is leaving Malaga, although he is widely expected to take charge at Manchester City, while Jupp Heynckes is being replaced at Bayern Munich by Pep Guardiola.
Fans who paid a minimum of 40 a ticket to watch the Test at Headingley were left without play for the second year in a row.
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Yorkshire have warned of the dangers of a north-south divide opening up in English cricket after suffering their second complete washout in consecutive years here.
Mark Arthur, who recently joined the county as chief executive, said that the loss of the first day of the second Test against New Zealand, in conditions every bit as miserable as those that scuppered a one-day international against West Indies last June, will not have such a serious financial impact on the club because they are insured for the cost of refunding spectators through the scheme run centrally by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
But he argued that the difficulty Yorkshire have experienced in selling tickets for this game, in stark contrast to the near full houses for all four days of the first Test at Lord’s, raises major questions not only for Headingley, but also for the ECB.
“One of the unique factors in English cricket is that the national team gets taken around the country,” said Arthur.
“It’s very important to understand that not everybody has the spending capacity of those people in the south-east of the country.
That has to be factored in by the ECB’s Major Matches Group when allocating matches.” Yorkshire had to charge a minimum of 40 for tickets, even for one of the least lucrative early-season Tests on the rota, to be confident of recouping the money they paid almost a decade ago to stage this match.
They do not have a match in the two Ashes series England will host in 2013 and 2015, and even next year they have to sell one of the two spring Tests against Sri Lanka that precede the five-Test series against India.
Arthur confirmed that he will consider cutting ticket prices for the Sri Lanka game.
“We’ve got to make sure that Headingley looks good to the world of cricket, and a half-empty stadium doesn’t look good,” he said.
There would have been at least 6,000 empty seats had there been any play on Friday, and although around 12,000 tickets of a 16,000 capacity have been sold for Saturday, Yorkshire are relying on a big walk-up to break five figures for any of the remaining three days of the match, even on a Bank Holiday weekend.
It is a similar story at Durham, who have tickets available for their first Ashes Test that starts on 9 August, and were recently forced to sell their staging rights for one-day games against India next year and Australia in 2015 back to the ECB because of their financial problems.
Arthur ruled out Yorkshire making a bid for those games, and they seem most likely to head south, increasing the concentration of international matches in the south-east now that Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl has joined Lord’s and the The Oval on the list.
There will not be a Test north of Trent Bridge in the 2015 Ashes series, with the other games at Edgbaston, Cardiff, Lord’s and The Oval, and Yorkshire again having to make do with an early-season Test against New Zealand.
Arthur, who began his career at Trent Bridge before moving into football with Nottingham Forest, offered his wholehearted support to those who have claimed that the recent increase in the number of first-class counties competing to stage international cricket, a process encouraged by the ECB, has caused major financial problems.
“When I was at Notts it was a rota basis so you could set a business plan,” he said in an eight-year programme you knew what you were going to get,” he said.
“Now there is a huge bidding process with 10 or 11 grounds it’s unsustainable really.
There is a finite amount of international cricket in this country and this ground is amongst 11 international grounds.
To expect all these grounds to be at the same level as all international grounds around the world it doesn’t work, does it?” He confirmed that Yorkshire plan to install floodlights, provide more covered seating, and increase the capacity to closer to 20,000, before their existing staging agreement with the ECB expires in 2019.
0 View comments Outgoing Manchester United chief executive David Gill expects Wayne Rooney to start the 2013-14 season with the Barclays Premier League champions.
The 27-year-old striker has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after retiring manager Sir Alex Ferguson – who will be replaced by Everton boss David Moyes in July – claimed the player had submitted a second transfer request in nearly three years.
The club later revealed the request had been turned down with talks over a new contract well under way, with new UEFA member Gill insisting ‘every bit of work’ is being done to prolong the England international’s nine-year stint in Manchester.
Doing all he can: David Gill (left) is pulling out all the stops to keep Wayne Rooney at Manchester United Speaking to Sky Sports News at UEFA’s Congress in London today, Gill said: ‘As Alex said at his last press conference, that’s an issue for David Moyes and the new team but I’m confident he’ll be there next season.
‘I think he’s a great, great player at a great, great club and the club doesn’t want to lose its star player.
‘I’m sure every bit of work is being taken with Wayne and his advisors to ensure that happens.
I’m not a betting man but I’m confident I’ll sit at Old Trafford next season and see Wayne Rooney running out.’ Liverpool-born Rooney agreed a five-year contract running to June 2015 after changing his mind over leaving the club in October 2010.
Out with the old…
Sir Alex Ferguson takes a drive with his replacement, David Moyes Limited: Rooney found himself out of favour in the last few weeks of Ferguson’s tenure
Tom Sykes: Pace-setter in opening practice at Donington Tom Sykes set the pace in dreadful conditions on the opening day of practice for Sunday’s World Superbike round at Donington Park.
High winds and rain dogged the afternoon action but Sykes found a gap in the clouds to post the day’s best time of one minute, 30.278 seconds.
The Kawasaki star suffered a minor fall at the hairpin soon after setting his best time but there was no damage to rider or bike.
Jonathan Rea, a winner at Donington last season, set the second fastest time for Pata Honda ahead of BMW’s Marco Melandri and the Aprilia of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, who leads the championship ahead of the two British races.
Davide Giugliano, Leon Camier, Michel Fabrizio, Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz rounded out the top 10.
Another Briton, Leon Haslam finished 14th on his return to the series after a broken leg, more than three seconds off Sykes’ pace.
Daniele de Rossi has urged Roma and Lazio fans to ‘leave their knives at home’ for the Italian Cup final
0 View comments Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi has urged Roma and Lazio ultras to leave their weapons at home when the two sides clash in the Italian Cup final.
The final comes just seven weeks after violent scenes marred the last meeting between the neighbouring clubs, when several people were stabbed in the streets of Rome before the derby.
VIDEO Scroll down for Italian news coverage of the clashes that marred the Rome derby Call for calm: Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi has urged both sets of fans to leave their weapons at home Ugly scenes: Several people were stabbed the last time the two teams met, at the beginning of April Dispersal: Police fire tear gas at fans ‘I’m confident about the derby,’ De Rossi said after delegations from Roma and Lazio met President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale palace.
‘It will be a splendid festival.
There are lots of people who want to go the stadium in the hope of celebrating (victory for their team) but they’ll leave the weapons and knives at home.
‘We on the field will have to be the first ones not to go too far.
We feel the responsibility not to ignite the fans’ emotions.’ Sunday’s final takes place at Roma and Lazio’s shared ground, the Stadio Olympico, wih around 2,000 police will on the streets to reduce the risk of violence.
Flares: The disturbances continued inside the stadium
Communications and entertainment company, which boasts Usain Bolt and Mo Farah among its brand ambassadors, named as the newest partner of the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Virgin Media has been unveiled as an official partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the deal also including the company being the presenting partner of athletics.
This means that athletics superstars Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, who are brand ambassadors for Virgin, could form part of an advertising campaign for the Glasgow event which will take place from July 23 to August 3 next year, with both athletes already having stated their desire to compete.
Chairman of Glasgow 2014, Lord Smith of Kelvin, said they are looking forward to working with Virgin Media to develop some exciting engagement and activation opportunities over the coming months.
Commenting on the presenting partner role, Michael Cavanagh, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, added: Our track and field athletes are showing great early season form as they strive for selection and I know just how much they are looking forward to competing at Hampden (Stadium, pictured above) which is such an iconic venue for Scots.
The athletics competition will be world class and it is fantastic that Virgin Media are going to be the presenting partner.
Virgin Media join the likes of Emirates, Trespass and Ticketmaster in the Glasgow 2014 family of official sponsors. Speaking of the new partnership, six-time Olympic champion Bolt said: Virgin Media is a great company and I m delighted they have decided to continue their support of athletics by becoming a Commonwealth Games partner.
Athletics is a fantastic, healthy way of life for all ages of people, regardless of where they re from, continued the Jamaican sprinter, and Virgin Media s support of the 2014 Games is great for the sport.
Fellow ambassador, double Olympic champion Farah, added: Knowing that Virgin Media is supporting the 2014 Commonwealth Games is great news but I don t think I will be growing a Richard Branson beard this time!
I love competing on home turf and I hope to run in Glasgow in 2014. The Scottish crowd are always very passionate about athletics.
Having Virgin Media s continued support both personally, and as a sponsor of the Commonwealth Games, is a big boost to athletics.
Earlier this month Glasgow 2014 unveiled a family-friendly ticketing strategy which stated that two-thirds of tickets will be priced at 25 or less.
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Gut Whittingham: Appointed new number two Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Portsmouth manager Guy Whittingham has named Steve Allen as his new assistant manager for the upcoming season.
The 46-year-old has been working as head of sports performance at Fratton Park since his arrival in August 2010 and will continue in that role while working alongside Whittingham.
He told the club’s official website: “I’ve been given the title assistant manager and head of sports performance.
That encompasses all medical aspects and the fitness of the players.
“It also involves identifying players for Guy who can take the club forward.
“You can see from those we’ve signed so far that we’re mostly concentrating on players aged between 21 and 26, who also have a resale value.
“We’ve worked particularly hard on player recruitment since January and we’ve tried to get ahead of the game and sign players quickly.
“It’s a real honour to hold this position and I feel proud and privileged to do it for a club of this size and stature.” Whittingham, who was confirmed as boss last month after a lengthy spell as caretaker, added: “Steve has pretty much been fulfilling the role of assistant manager since January.
“Andy Awford was a huge help on the coaching side, but Steve was doing all the off-field stuff that an assistant manager would do.
I was talking to the chairman about how valuable Steve was and he replied that an assistant manager was right under my nose.
“He’s the ideal man for the role of assistant manager, which he will combine with his medical duties.”