(Reuters) - The Surrey County Cricket Club are planning to redevelop The Oval stadium to increase its capacity to 40,000, according to a British media report.
The Oval currently has a capacity of 25,000 but Surrey plans to rebuild Bedser Stand and Laker-Lock Stand after the 2019 World Cup, to boost capacity and make it the biggest cricket ground in the country.
“English cricket needs a ground that can hold 40,000-plus supporters,” Surrey chairman Richard Thompson told The Telegraph newspaper.
“We have shown the demand is there and we would not contemplate this project unless we were confident we can fill this ground. We want to do something that is big, bold and ambitious and we know we can deliver.”
The club has held talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Duchy of Cornwall regarding the plan that will make The Oval one of the top venues for the region’s new Twenty20 league that is scheduled to begin in 2020.
“The ECB are looking at places like the London Olympic Stadium because they want additional capacity,” Surrey Chief Executive Richard Gould has said.
“Well, we can deliver that here. When you look forward to the new Twenty20 competition this takes us to the next level.”
The club are expected to clear existing debts by 2022 and have approached the ECB for funding the 50 million pounds ($63.65 million) redevelopment in exchange for sharing ticket sale revenues.
($1 = 0.7856 pounds)
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly