MARK Arthur says a financial agreement must be reached “in the next few weeks” with regards to the construction of the new Football Stand in order for Yorkshire to secure international cricket at Headingley beyond 2019.
Yorkshire’s chief executive revealed to members at Saturday’s AGM that a £4m grant from Leeds City Council has been withdrawn, leaving a significant gap in the part grant, part loan funding plan for the £40m scheme.
In all, £17m must be found by Yorkshire, who are partnered with Leeds Rhinos Rugby Club.
If a solution is not found, Yorkshire would first of all lose the four one-day World Cup matches allocated to them as well as further England internationals beyond 2019.
They would almost certainly miss out on a host contract for the new ECB city based T20 tournament, starting in 2020, meaning their hopes of repaying the near £25m debt would be severely hit.
“Gordon Hollins, the chief operating officer of the ECB, has confirmed to us in writing that Headingley does not comply with the International Facilities Policy,” said Arthur.
“Therefore, once the current staging agreement ends in 2019, we will not be considered for Test Matches.”
The £4m grant was withdrawn by Leeds City Council on January 26.
“This has to be resolved in the very near future or we will have run out if time to complete the stand by the start of the 2019 season,” said Arthur.
“While the Ashes Test is secure, the four World Cup matches in 2019 are not.
“The need to have a new stand has recently taken on greater importance with the introduction of a new T20 city based competition from the year 2020.
“The hosts cities will be selected on the basis of facilities and catchment.
“It will be akin to hosting four additional one-day internationals per year and will bring further incremental income to those host grounds and cities.
“This new competition will give each county a minimum dividend of £1.3m per year for five years whether or not they are hosting a team.
“We will be solvent, but we will not be able to solve our long-term debt so quickly.
“We need to reach an agreement with all parties in the next few weeks.
“Not only is the clock ticking from a financial point of view, the ECB will be allocating international matches from 2020 to 2023 later this year as well as the new city based T20 host contracts.”
Meanwhile, the election of Yorkshire’s first female board member, Katherine Mathew, was confirmed on Saturday.
Mathew joins chairman Steve Denison and Arthur on the board alongside Martyn Moxon, Robin Smith, Stephen Willis and Sir Gary Verity.