Emirates Old Trafford to host England Men’s behind-closed-doors Tests

ECB announces proposed dates and venues for England Men’s behind-closed-doors Test series against West Indies

Lancashire Cricket is delighted to announce that the England and Wales Cricket Board has selected Emirates Old Trafford, alongside the Ageas Bowl, as the two venues that will host the Test Series behind closed doors against the West Indies, starting in July.

The West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on Tuesday 9 June, travelling to Emirates Old Trafford for quarantining and training. This will be their base for a three-week period before moving to the Ageas Bowl for the start of the first Test.

The ECB’s independent Host Venue Panel (HVP) recommended the use of two full matchday broadcast venues for the West Indies Test series. A decision on other scheduled matches for England Men and England Women this summer will be determined at a later date.

– 1st Test v West Indies: 8-12 July at Ageas Bowl
– 2nd Test v West Indies: 16-20 July at Emirates Old Trafford
– 3rd Test v West Indies: 24-28 July at Emirates Old Trafford

International venues were encouraged to submit their expressions of interest during a five-day window, based on several fundamental principles. Four venues submitted an interest in staging matches by the deadline of Monday 11 May, with the final recommendations for the use of the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford later ratified by the ECB Board.

Venues had to demonstrate key principles to create a bio-secure environment. The criteria comprised of:

– Venue perimeter, access and access control
– Hotel accommodation (onsite or nearby)

Medical screening/testing provision
– Designated areas for isolation of anyone presenting symptoms.
– Car parking requirements (approx. 200)
– Medical Screening and Testing sites (approx. 1500 m2)

Footprint to enable social distancing
– Extendable Players and Match Official areas
– Extendable space for broadcast compounds, studios and written media.

Venue/Cricket operations
– The number and suitability of TV pitches
– Provision for warm-up matches
– Indoor and outdoor practice facilities

The Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford will receive an administration fee for staging the Test series and all additional central costs will be met by the ECB.

The HVP also confirmed that Edgbaston was selected as a contingency venue and will be used to stage additional training throughout July.

ECB Director of Events, Steve Elworthy – who is leading on English cricket’s bio-secure operational plans, said: “Our main objective is to deliver a safe environment for all stakeholders including players, match officials, operational staff, essential venue staff, broadcasters and media.

“We are in daily dialogue with Government and our medical team, who have been incredibly supportive during this period. These are our proposed dates and they remain subject to UK Government approval.

“We would like to thank Cricket West Indies for their co-operation and dedication in making this tour a reality, and we all look forward to the prospect of cricket returning in the coming weeks.”

Lancashire Cricket Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, said: “We are delighted that Emirates Old Trafford has been selected as one of just two venues that will host the West Indies Test series in a behind closed doors environment next month and that we can play our part in the return of international cricket in this country.

“We have the team, the experience and the facilities at Emirates Old Trafford to make this work and as a Club, we’re more than happy to support the ECB in making these fixtures happen. The importance of re-starting international cricket should not be underestimated as it will provide a huge boost to the mental health and well-being of supporters of the game across the country, all of the players and coaches involved, as well as the staff at Lancashire Cricket. It will also protect vital broadcast distributions and jobs across the whole of cricket.

“The facilities we have at Emirates Old Trafford are some of the best in the country, if not the world, following on from a decade-long £60 million redevelopment of the ground. The vision of the Board, and then the execution of the redevelopment, including the on-site accommodation, has ultimately enabled Emirates Old Trafford to stand front and centre with the ECB and Government to help re-start international cricket in this country. It’s a truly proud day for the Red Rose.

“The Club will work alongside the ECB and the Government to ensure that specific measures are implemented across the stadium and our own ‘Safe in one place’ programme with everything you need being on-site, in terms of space within the grounds of the stadium, over 600 parking spaces, on-site accommodation and sizable hospitality suites such as The Point, which in usual circumstances can hold over 1,200 people. The health and safety of everyone involved in delivering an international matchday is the number one priority for us.

“The staff at Emirates Old Trafford have delivered multiple events with global reach over the years such as six games at the ICC Cricket World Cup, including India vs Pakistan and an Ashes Test last year alone, as well as an iconic event like the One Love Manchester concert, organised and put on at a week’s notice. I have complete faith in every single one of them, as we support the ECB in getting fixtures played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment.”

Ticket purchasers for the original England v West Indies Test series will be entitled to a refund. From 2 June, the venues will begin contacting ticket buyers to inform them of the refund process as well as any other options available to them.

For all other fixtures (both domestic and international), the ECB is continuing to work with partners across the game to determine how best to schedule matches and would like to thank supporters for their patience during this process.