Yorkshire County Cricket Club looks to install floodlights at Headingley

York Press: Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur

Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has reaffirmed the club’s desire to install floodlights at Headingley as they look to secure the ground’s long-term future on the international schedule.

The club’s ongoing staging agreement with the ECB runs until 2019, the summer in which Ashes cricket returns to Headingley.

But after that, there is no guarantee of international cricket at the White Rose county’s HQ.

Yorkshire have made no secret of how big a priority it is to install floodlights, and Arthur spoke about their plans last week when the ECB announced the dates for next summer’s internationals, including a one-day international between England and Australia in Leeds on September 11.

“We are one of only two international grounds without floodlights at the moment, and that’s a serious issue,” he said. “It is very high on the agenda because in order to be an international ground in the future, you have to have floodlights.

“It would be nice if we had floodlights in place by September 11. First of all we have to get planning permission, and we have to find the finance for it.

“You get a grant of £700,000 from the ECB, and we will have to find just over £1m.

“We would hope they would be in place by the ODI. Now we know we have a September ODI, it might be helpful if we did have floodlights in situ by then.

“Going forward, we are going to have to have floodlights, there are no two ways about it. But how do we finance that?”

Yorkshire have also been handed a New Zealand Test match earlier that summer, the second of two starting on Friday May 29.

Last year’s Test against the Kiwis, which saw Joe Root score his maiden Test century, was not as successful as Yorkshire had hoped. But Arthur is confident the club will have learnt from their mistakes come next year.

“What we have to do at Headingley is create the right sort of environment whereby whoever is touring here, local people want to come to the Headingley Test match,” he added.

“I think we were guilty of over-pricing it in an attempt to bridge the financial gap that we’ve got, and certainly next year when we’re looking at the pricing structure, which will hopefully come out before the end of the season, it will be quite innovative.

“New Zealand have had a fantastic winter, and we’ve seen how good Kane Williamson is at just 23 years of age.

“We hope we have a long-term relationship and the Yorkshire public will want to see Kane playing against some of Yorkshire’s England players next year.”

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