Wales

Glamorgan Cricket: Club to start repaying Cardiff Council loan

England v Bangladesh in the 2019 Cricket World Cup at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption England and Bangladesh drew crowds to Cardiff in the 2019 Cricket World Cup

Glamorgan County Cricket Club says it is about to start paying back millions of pounds of Cardiff taxpayers' money borrowed 13 years ago.

Cardiff Council loaned the club £4.5m in 2006 to expand Sophia Gardens so it could host Test matches.

None of the money has been repaid, despite 70% being written off in 2015 because of the club's mounting debts.

Glamorgan now says it will begin paying back nearly £2m it still owes, starting next month.

Sophia Gardens has staged England Test matches against Australia and Sri Lanka, and regularly hosts one-day internationals, including four games in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

But Glamorgan has agreed not to bid to host England Test matches until 2024 in return for a £2.5m payment from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The council's Labour leaders also expect a new city-based cricket tournament to boost the club's coffers, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Cardiff hosted the first Ashes Test of the 2009 series between England and Australia

Councillor Chris Weaver, cabinet member for finance, stressed the importance of the Sophia Gardens venue in "promoting Cardiff on a truly global stage".

"We expect Glamorgan County Cricket Club to repay the £2m owed in full, but not at the expense of jeopardising the future of the club and at the risk of losing an extremely valuable venue in the heart of the capital city," he said.

"We have to recoup what is owed sensibly and in a way that will sustain the club over the long term."

Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris said: "We are in regular communication with the council and continue to make interest payments in accordance with the terms of the revised loan and are anticipating complying with the terms of the loan principal repayments, commencing in July 2019."

Councillor Adrian Robson, leader of the Conservative opposition, said: "Hopefully now the full outstanding amount will be repaid, which will restore goodwill between the club and council and be another step towards the club's future success."

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