17 Dec 2011

Critics hit out at MCC over shelved plans for Lord’s

Former Prime Minister John Major and ex-Lord’s development committee member Lord Grabiner say the club should have pushed ahead with £100m redevelopment.

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A former member of the development committee whose plans to transform Lord’s cricket ground have been abandoned has criticised the club’s governors.

Lord Grabiner questioned the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) committee’s decision to shelve a redevelopment of the world’s most famous cricket ground and said their decision-making process lacked transparency.

The club pulled out of £100m deal to transform the ground by building a new entrance, blocks of flats and an underground academy for young players, citing the unfavourable financial climate.

Critics have said the club acted to avoid embarrassment after being outbid by a developer back in 1999 for a parcel of land that is now key to the development.

Sir John Major resigned from the MCC committee last week over the affair.

A statement from the club said the former Conservative Prime Minister had quit “because of fundamental disagreements over the direction of policy on the Vision for Lord’s, the manner in which decisions have been reached, and their wider implications for the club”.

Lord Grabiner told Channel 4 News: “It is driven in my view by entirely wrong motives. I think we all know that if you run organisations as if they were your hip pocket, ordinary governance rules simply don’t apply.”

The club responded to the criticism by saying: “MCC has always made it clear that the project was subject to both the financial viability of the proposed development as a whole and reaching an agreement with the ECB on the number of major matches to be played at Lords in the coming years.

“The club has not ruled out any development at the Nursery End in the future.”