New £32 million Edgbaston pavilion ‘a risk worth taking’: Povey

Warwickshire chief executive Colin Povey believes that the new £32 million pavilion at Edgbaston will help to beat off competition from other provincial Test venues for major international matches.

The pavilion, which took four years from conception to completion, has increased Edgbaston’s capacity by 3,000 to 25,000, the second highest in the country behind Lord’s.

The pavilion was built with the help of a £20 million loan from Birmingham City Council and Warwickshire have 30 years to repay it a fixed rate of interest.

The project has stretched Warwickshire financially but Povey believes that the ambitious scheme will put Warwickshire in a strong position to bid for major matches.

“It’s a big risk to do something on this scale. Some people would not have gone as big as we have. We took the opposite view which said without making a statement we were looking down the barrel of losing our Category A status. That would have been a complete disaster,” Povey said.

“We could not have survived at Edgbaston without international cricket. Fact. So if you are going to face up to that reality then our view was let’s make it the best we can.

“The best we can means that we feel we have the best chance of getting the best cricket most often. When we are submitting our case to the ECB it means seeing Australia and India series here on a regular basis.

“We think that the cricket case we have made supports that. From a financial view I think it makes sense for the biggest grounds to have the biggest and best fixtures. We have designed the facilities in such a way that they service the big cricket occasions really well but it also means that we can use space for other events.

“We have tried to create a range of facilities so that it doesn’t matter whether you are a cricket fan, a school fan popping in or a businessman, we have got a really good facility that gives us a chance of delivering a lot.

“Lord’s, like Wimbledon, is a special place but in terms of facilities we have got as good if not better than Lord’s. In terms of provincial grounds these facilities are significantly ahead of those other grounds. At the end of the day we are going to have between four and seven days international cricket a year so the ground has to do other things.

“But I didn’t want to get to a point where the core cricket facilities were being comprised so that they didn’t work for fans, players on officials on other days.”

Warwickshire made a presentation to the ECB’s Major Match group last week and expect to know in late September whether they have been successful in securing Ashes Tests at Edgbaston in 2013 and 2015.

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