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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Sophia Gardens' revamp go ahead
Some work has already started at the site (Pic: Glamorgan Cricket Archives)
Preparatory work has already started at the site
A key financial deal enabling the 9.5m redevelopment of Cardiff's Sophia Gardens cricket ground has been signed on Monday.

The project will see Glamorgan's 5,500-capacity ground increased to provide room for 15,643 spectators.

Work is due to finish by spring 2008 and the club will host an Ashes Test between England and Australia in 2009.

Some work has already begun at the site but the deal means construction can now start in earnest.

Monday's ceremony saw Cardiff Council, Glamorgan Cricket Club (GCC) and bankers Allied Irish Bank signing the papers which signals the end of a two-year process getting all the finances for the project into place.

The ground, which will get a new pavilion as part of the work, was awarded Category A status by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2006, which means it will be suitable to host premium matches.

Artist's impression of the new ground at Sophia Gardens
Artist's impression of the new ground at Sophia Gardens

The first major game is due to see England take on South Africa in a one-day international in August 2008.

There have been some concerns regarding the environmental impact of building the stadium in its parkland setting in the city centre.

Paul Russell, chairman of GCC, said the deal was "an historic moment in the history of Glamorgan cricket and the game in Wales".

"The interest already being shown by the world's cricketing fraternity in Cardiff as a Test venue is a clear indication of the benefits Test cricket will bring to the game in Wales and Cardiff's image as a world sporting destination," he said.

Mr Russell added the challenge for the club was now to build, operate and make money from the stadium, but said 11 hospitality boxes at the new ground had already been sold.

Glamorgan's cricketers will play most of their home fixtures away from Sophia Gardens this season until they return for the Twenty-20 series in June.

They will then return to play County Championship matches in the city again at the start of August.


SEE ALSO
Cardiff to host Ashes Test match
20 Apr 06 |  Cricket
Glamorgan praise 'historic' day
20 Apr 06 |  Glamorgan

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