Emirates Old Trafford has confirmed that it has been selected by the England and Wales Cricket Board, alongside the Ageas Bowl, as the two venues that will host the Test Series behind closed doors against the West Indies, starting in July subject to government clearance.
The West Indies squad will arrive in the UK on 9 June, travelling to the Manchester venue 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 selection of the venue was supported by the on-site four-star Hilton Garden Inn, which has 150-bedrooms. Ahead of the fixtures, the venue has been introducing additional safety protocols and procedures, including; rigorous deep cleaning measures; providing PPE for all players and staff on-site; social distancing measures in place adhering to government guidelines and; increased hand sanitisers at each touch point for all on-site.
Daniel Gidney, chief executive at Lancashire Cricket, noted his delight at the venue being selected, but warned it would still be subject to government approval. “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,” said Gidney. “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 £60m redevelopment of the ground, which includes on-site accommodation.
“We will work alongside the ECB and the government to ensure that specific measures are implemented across the stadium and the fact that you have everything you need being on-site, in terms of space within the grounds of the stadium, over 700 parking spaces, on-site accommodation and sizeable 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.
Gidney said it was good news overall for the events industry, adding: “This is a hugely positive step for our industry and we are honoured that the ECB have recognised us as one of the venues capable of delivering these events to industry defining standards, and this enables us to be prepared when we are able to welcome back guests and visitors to Emirates Old Trafford, as we will be able to put these protocols in place and see where we need to adapt or whether we need to introduce additional safety measures.
“I’m extremely confident in our team’s ability to deliver these events. The staff at Emirates Old Trafford have delivered multiple events with global reach over the years, such as the iconic One Love Manchester benefit concert, organised and put on at a week’s notice, industry pioneering conference and events including TheStadiumBusiness Summit and Awards, as well as six games at the ICC Cricket World Cup, plus an Ashes Test in 2019. 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.”