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January 30, 2014
The Oval has emerged as another potential administrative base of the ICC as the organisation considers a partial relocation.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Surrey have joined forces with the Mayor of London's office in an attempt to persuade the ICC of the attraction of a London base.
The bid includes providing office space within the Oval ground with views of the pitch. The club are understood to have offered to build offices in the area around the Lock and Laker stands and have planning permission. The initial scheme to build a hotel has been deemed financially unviable.
The Mayor of London's office, appreciating the prestige of the city hosting a governing body, has promised its support as required.
While the ICC has no immediate plans to move their official base from Dubai, the organisation is exploring the possibility of relocating its administrative base in order to have wider access to potential employees and commercial partners.
The ICC would also be given access to The Oval pitch to experiment with new technologies during Surrey games, subject to ECB approval, such as spider cam and for third umpire training.
London, as an established hub for some of the ICC's media and commercial partners, has obvious attractions. Manchester United and Manchester City are among the sporting organisations to have bases in London.
It also has an obvious drawback of being an expensive location. But if Surrey and the Mayor of London's office are to offer an attractive package, that is a hurdle that could be cleared.
"There is a reason that Manchester United have a base in London," Surrey chief executive Richard Gould told ESPNcricinfo. "This is a global financial centre and it is only right that the ICC base themselves where their commercial and media partners are located.
"We would be very keen to welcome them to The Oval and think it could be a partnership that works very well.
"We have discussed this at a high level with officials from the Mayor of London's office and they are very supportive. We have not sought financial assistance. London is a confident city and will sell itself as the best destination, not necessarily the cheapest."
Several other media and cricket companies have already made the Oval their base with the Professional Cricketers Association, Chance to Shine and a radio station all located in SE11. Gould said the ICC would be part of that "cricket, media and culture community."
Cardiff, who are understood to have the support of the Welsh Assembly, Colombo and Singapore are other options for the ICC. While the ICC has, in the past, been keen to present an image of itself as impartial and reluctant to have a base in the country of one of its full members, recent events suggest that such issues are no longer a priority.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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