The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association will get possession of the iconic MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai after it entered into a new lease agreement with the state government, association sources said on Thursday.
The lease was for a period of 21 years and this would start the process of getting the three closed stands at the stadium opened. The lease agreement was handed over to TNCA on Thursday.
The earlier lease had expired in 2015. The TNCA will approach the Madras High Court and efforts would be made to get the stands operational for the coming India-West Indies One-day International to be played in Chennai on December 15. If that doesn’t happen, the board would push for the stands to be open to spectators during next year’s Indian Premier League.
The three stands (I, J, and K with a combined capacity of over 12,000) have been closed for the last eight years owing to various issues, depriving the city the opportunity to host matches at big-ticket events including the World T20 in 2016 and the IPL final earlier this year.
The stands were closed as the city corporation said there was insufficient setback space between them and the Madras Cricket Club. Though MCC had agreed to a proposal to demolish its gymnasium to create the required setback space, it could not be done as the ground’s lease to TNCA and MCC had ended in 2015.
Renewal of the lease would pave the way for reopening of the closed stands in due course. As per the new lease, TNCA will pay the state government the arrears it owes.