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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 12:17 GMT
New stand and name for Headingley
Yorkshire's famous Headingley ground is to be renamed and redeveloped to increase the capacity to 20,000.

It will become the Headingley Carnegie Stadium after Leeds Metropolitan University secured naming rights for 10 years, with an option for five more.

Chairman Robin Smith said the stand next to the rugby ground will be rebuilt, with 3,000 seats added.

"The financial benefits will be those extra tickets at big matches," Smith explained on BBC Radio Four.

"The success of the England side is at the core of cricket and the Ashes victory has generated a huge amount of interest which we're benefitting from."

The stadium, which staged its first Test in 1899, is most famous for the Ashes match of 1981 when Ian Botham inspired England to a remarkable win.

To hear that international status had been secured for 15 years was just the tonic to end 2005
Michael Vaughan

It has generally been regarded as a ground full of atmosphere but in recent years it has attracted criticism for outdated facilities and was not awarded an Ashes Test last summer.

Smith added: "The Headingley vision, once realised, will mean that Headingley will have become one of the finest sports complexes in the country, providing cricket, rugby and educational facilities to world class standards."

The club needed to buy the ground by a deadline of 31 December 2005 to keep its status as an international venue until 2019.

A 9m loan from Leeds City Council helped complete the 12m purchase in time, much to the delight of Michael Vaughan.

"As a Yorkshire player and England captain it was a bit of a blow to return from Pakistan with a knee injury to find out that Headingley would not necessarily retain international status," he said at Wednesday's announcement.

"So to hear on New Year's Eve that it had been secured for 15 years was just the tonic to end 2005 after such a great year for cricket."

As part of the plans to re-develop the Leeds venue, the university's Carnegie faculty will be housed at the ground.

Former athlete Brendan Foster MBE, chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, said: "This is one of the most exciting partnerships I have heard of in the UK, or even outside the UK for that matter."


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