Christchurch World Cup bid with conditions

GEOFF LONGLEY
Last updated 05:00 10/10/2012
Hagley Park

Earthworks have started as part of redevelopment of the Hagley Oval wicket and outfield.

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The Christchurch City Council's bid to host matches at Hagley Oval for the 2015 Cricket World Cup will come with strings attached.

Councillors have still to meet and discuss a bid document which is being prepared by council staff ahead of the November 12 deadline.

If they approve it, as seems likely, it will carry provisos about what the council can and cannot provide to stage games at the tournament in February and March 2015.

Parks and recreation manager John Filsell said it was unlikely those provisos would be made public as Christchurch was in contention with several other cities wanting to stage matches.

"We wouldn't be wanting to show our hand and let other centres know what we will and won't do."

Canterbury Cricket has proposed an upgrade of the ground to full international standard including a raised embankment, a new pavilion and floodlights which could cost about $20 million to be met by the cricket body. All the aforementioned could be sticking points for councillors and included as provisos.

"To what extent facilities are temporary or permanent will, I suspect, be part of the usual Hagley debate," Filsell said.

Already work is well under way on a scheduled upgrade of the ground with a new wicket block and drainage improvements to enable first-class matches to be hosted there from later this season.

Councillors rejected Canterbury Cricket's original proposal saying its scale was too big and told it go away and have discussions with opponents, such as the Save Hagley Park group, to attempt to find some common ground or compromise.

Canterbury Cricket's chief executive Lee Germon has been in discussions with council staff and Save Hagley representatives as the parties seek to find a way forward.

Filsell said it did not mean that just because the councillors were not keen on the scale of the upgrade that Cricket World Cup matches could not be staged there.

World Cup organisers have already said they are keen to accommodate matches in Christchurch after the 2011 earthquakes prevented any participation in the Rugby World Cup.

Filsell said there would be discussions after the bid was lodged with the organisers which was normal practice in such matters.

Germon said Canterbury Cricket remained optimistic of a positive outcome and of the sport in the province having a headquarters that would serve it well for the next 100 years.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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