Australia news December 17, 2013

WACA faces uncertain future

The WACA faces an uncertain future as an international venue after a major redevelopment plan was abandoned on Monday. The project had been intended to provide the venue with financial security by linking an upgrade of the ground to the construction of commercial and residential buildings on site, but disappointing pre-sales for that development has led to the scrapping of the plan.

That means the WACA will need to find another way of increasing the ground's capacity and improving its facilities to meet ICC standards. Perth has already been left off the Test schedule for next summer, where there are only four Tests against India due to the presence of the World Cup in the fixture later in the season, and unless it can fund an upgrade it may be in danger of losing future international matches.

It is likely that from 2018, major internationals in Perth will be held at the Burswood Stadium, which is currently under construction opposite the WACA on the east side of the Swan River. That venue will be a multi-purpose and mulit-sport 60,000-seat stadium that the Western Australia minister for sport and recreation Terry Waldron said last week would be fan-friendly from day one.

"The WACA is the home of cricket in Western Australia and will continue to be," Waldron said. "The construction of this 60,000-seat stadium with the ability to play cricket here gives them flexibility to hold big matches here, the bigger Tests, one-day internationals, World Cup fixtures, Twenty20 competitions. This stadium will be world-class right from the start. It will be for the fans."

However, since then the WACA's redevelopment has been shelved, leaving the situation until the completion of the Burswood Stadium unclear. The WACA chairman, Sam Gannon, said that the residential and commercial proposal couldn't go ahead due to the lack of sales.

"Despite strong sales up to November and a renewed marketing effort, we have been unable to achieve the pre-sales target required to achieve finance on acceptable terms in time to meet our commitments for the 2015 Cricket World Cup," Gannon said. "I would like to thank the board and advisors for their considered advice. We have given this development every opportunity but the final decision not to proceed is in the best long-term interest of members and stakeholders."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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