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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » Yorkshire hope to own Headingley

Yorkshire hope to own Headingley

March 02, 2004 18:47 IST

One of the world's most famous cricket grounds is about to be purchased by Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Headingley, which has charted the triumphs and sorrows of the world's leading cricketers, is expected to be sold for an estimated £15 million to Yorkshire following a dramatic improvement in the club's finances.

Although Yorkshire's bank balance is still in the red, it now has an overdraft of only £215,000 compared to just under one million pounds a year ago.

Much of the improvment has been credited to Yorkshire's director of finance, Brian Boutell, who has also negotiated with HSBC Bank to make funds available for the purchase of the cricket ground.

Headingley's freehold  is currently owned by local businessman Paul Caddick, who earlier this year predicted that the ground's sale to the club might be possible in the next two years.

But this prediction is seen as far too conservative by Yorkshire managers who point out that the club's plans to generate extra income through sponsorship, catering and drinks worth £ one million a year puts it in a stronger position to push a deal through this year.

A spokesman for Yorkshire commented that the purchase of Headingley would be a dream come true for club members, adding, "Chief executive Colin Graves and Paul Caddick have agreed a deal to buy the freehold of the ground and all the income streams."

"All the big decisions have been made and it is now just a matter of transferring all that into details.

"It won't be easy and it will take time but I hope it will happen well before June 30. It will happen."

Shyam Bhatia in London