ICC World Cup 2015: Earthquake-hit Christchurch could host group stage matches

The cricket stadium in Christchurch was wrecked during the earthquake in 2011 © Getty Images (Representational photo)

Aug 14, 2013

New Zealand’s earthquake-hit city of Christchurch has received a boost in their bid to host matches in the World Cup 2015 after a proposal to upgrade a section of a public park into an international standard venue were given the clearance by New Zealand court on Wednesday.

Christchurch was initially awarded three pool games, including the opening tie, by the organisers pending the outcome of the decision taken by Environment Court.

The previous stadium at the venue, the Lacaster Park was destroyed by earthquake on February 22, 2011 that also took 200 lives. The local cricket authorities submitted plan for the development of a venue on Hagley Park, which borders the central city.

The court placed several conditions on the use of the ground. Canterbury Cricket would also need to be granted a lease by the local council, although the World Cup fixtures would not be included as part of the match day restrictions.

According to a Reuters report, Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said in a statement, “This decision is positive not only for hosting Cricket World Cup but also for the sport of cricket and our city in future years.”

“While we are very pleased with this decision, we know that the matter now needs to go before the Council to consider whether to grant a lease to Canterbury Cricket for the proposed pavilion and light towers. We are obviously hopeful the Council will approve this.”

Germon had said earlier that it could take close to 12 months to get the facility completed before the World Cup opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on February 14, 2015.

“This is an important step forward in terms of realising our vision of having Christchurch play a key role in the Cricket World Cup,” Cricket World Cup 2015’s Head of New Zealand Therese Walsh said.

“Since announcing Christchurch as a host city, we have received tremendous support from within the city and around the world, and I’m sure today’s news will be equally well received.”