New Zealand cricket November 11, 2006

Debt-ridden Eden Park's future in doubt

Cricinfo staff

Eden Park: being upgraded for the 2011 Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

The future of a debt-ridden Eden Park as a cricket venue remains in doubt with the announcement that the venue's trustees have planned a NZ$6 million upgrade for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Eden Park Trust Board have expressed concern over the sustainability of the venue should Auckland Rugby, the local team, shift to the government's preferred stadium on the waterfront.

Eden Park, a board-owned venue that's hosted 47 Tests since 1952, is NZ$20 million in debt and the cost of the huge demolition job would run into millions. John Alexander, the board's chief executive, felt that the move would render the $150 million asset base useless.

"There are no pots of money here," he told The New Zealand Herald. "Once you pay off the liabilities and demolition costs I would suggest there's very little. It's like asking someone: 'what are you going to do when you die?"'

Alexander hoped that a redeveloped venue could host the 2011 final.

Brent King, Auckland Cricket's chairman, termed the government's decision to favour a waterfront proposal a betrayal of good faith. "The simple fact is that the Rugby World Cup wouldn't have been awarded to New Zealand if Eden Park hadn't got out on a limb to help," he said. "They should be recompensed for every penny spent. Administrators in both Auckland Cricket and rugby have spent thousands of man-hours trying to make this work, and they deserve their money back.

New Zealand, along with Australia, have been slotted in to host the 2015 Cricket World Cup.