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Middlesex ease concerns over Lord’s exit and insist they are not leaving… yet

Joe Root and Middlesex members
Yorkshire's Joe Root walks back through the members after losing his wicket on the first day of their County Championship defeat by Middlesex at Lord's - Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Middlesex have moved to downplay fears they will move from Lord’s, with chief executive Andrew Cornish saying “we aren’t going anywhere any time soon”.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cornish said Middlesex were considering moving into a new home, based in north-west London, and playing onlya select few games at Lord’s each year. But on Sunday he said there were no plans to leave the home of cricket.

“To put minds at rest, Middlesex Cricket is not about to end its long-term relationship with Marylebone Cricket Club and is not about to leave Lord’s,” Cornish said in a statement released by Middlesex.

“First and foremost, the Club is not in a financial position currently where it can even consider this as an option, secondly, we have no site to consider moving to, and thirdly, if we did have, bringing this to fruition would be many years away and we would still hope to play as much cricket as possible at Lord’s.

“As little as three years ago the Club advised members that it was looking at alternative sites which might prove suitable for a home venue – with advanced investigation into Barnet Copthall as a suitable site ultimately not leading to a successful outcome.

“So, in short, right now, and in the immediate future, we are considering a move from Lord’s no more intensely than we were back then, although we remain committed to reviewing all options to ensure the Club thrives in the future.”

But Cornish did admit that Middlesex’s relationship with Lord’s poses “challenges” related to the county not owning the ground and the difficulties scheduling matches. Middlesex have played at Lord’s for 160 years since they were founded in 1864.

Middlesex use Radlett Cricket Club and Merchant Taylors’ School as outgrounds, but neither are potential permanent second homes. Scheduling issues have led Middlesex to play two ‘home’ matches at Chelmsford, Essex’s ground, this year.

“We have severe restrictions on the growth potential of the Club, with little or no opportunity to secure additional revenues from the ground we play at,” Cornish added. “The reality is that Lord’s cannot accommodate all our home games and that is only likely to get tougher. London needs another elite cricket facility.

“As a Board, we are duty bound to do all in our power to ensure Middlesex Cricket not just survives, but grows in this rapidly changing cricket landscape. In order to achieve this, the Board and Executive Team need to explore multiple options, both short and long-term, that can then be discussed with members.

“We continue to explore numerous options, but to put minds at rest, Middlesex Cricket is not about to end its long-term relationship with Marylebone Cricket Club and is not about to leave Lord’s.”

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