London stadium in race to host 2019 World Cup matches

London stadium in race to host 2019 World Cup matches

A general view inside the stadium
A general view of the stadium. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The London Stadium is very close to hosting matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup after it was believed to have a potential playing surface that would suit one-day internationals. It emerged last month that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was considering high-capacity venue at the request of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The 60,000-seat London Stadium is much larger than any other cricket ground in the UK. However, a number of other hospitality issues need to be addressed. To conduct cricket matches, the stadium’s seating configuration would be similar to that used for athletics, rather than as employed by tenants West Ham United for premier league matches.

Obstacles to overcome include the cost-effectiveness of turfing the entire playing area and the suitability of drop-in pitches, which are rarely used in the UK. And, even though the tournament, which runs from 30 May to 15 July, is unlikely to encroach on either the football season or athletics’ Anniversary Games, there must be an adequate window to convert the stadium.

If all of these challenges can be met then it is likely the stadium, which hosted the 2012 Olympics, will be in action for a small portion of the World Cup, perhaps a one-week window, rather than throughout the seven-week competition.

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Eleven traditional cricket venues – Lord’s, The Oval, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Headingley, Cardiff, Southampton, Chester-le-Street, Taunton and Bristol – are in line to host the world cup matches. Of that list, Lord’s has the highest capacity – about 30,000.

However, the ICC is keen to replicate the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which saw attendances in excess of 90,000 in Melbourne, and games held at other large stadiums in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland.

Of those, Auckland’s Eden Park, traditionally a rugby ground, has dimensions that left the straight boundaries incredibly short. London Stadium has previously been considered by Essex for domestic Twenty20 matches.