<
>

Liam Gallagher concert puts Lancashire's home T20 Blast quarter-final at risk

A general view over Old Trafford Getty Images

Lancashire risk having to give up home advantage in a potential T20 Blast quarter-final due to hosting a Liam Gallagher concert at Old Trafford this weekend.

The club have officially requested to the ECB to have the quarter-final scheduled for August 26 - the last of the four - if they secure a home draw in order to give the Old Trafford outfield as much time as possible to recover from the sold out 50,000 capacity concert on August 18. They have also invested an extra GBP30,000 in equipment and manpower to give them the best chance of bringing the playing area back up to standard.

However, there is no guarantee that the ECB would agree to the request of a specific day and Lancashire's outgrounds - Liverpool, Southport and Blackpool - have been ruled out as options which means they would need to choose a neutral venue.

The county are certain of a quarter-final berth, but whether it is home or away will not be known until after the final group matches on Friday evening. Lancashire currently sit in second spot in the North Group - which would mean home advantage - but are level on points with Worcestershire following their heavy defeat against Birmingham.

A statement said: "Lancashire Cricket Club has confirmed that should Lancashire Lightning secure a home quarter-final fixture in the Vitality Blast it intends to host the fixture at Emirates Old Trafford.

"The venue will host a sold-out 50,000 capacity Liam Gallagher concert this Saturday (18 August), and the club has invested over GBP30,000 in additional outfield protection, specialist equipment and labour, ahead of, and after, the concert to ensure the outfield is ready for a home fixture.

"Confirmation of a home quarter-final depends on the final Vitality Blast fixtures on Friday, and the club has formally requested the Sunday afternoon (26 August), which is the last quarter-final fixture slot with the ECB and will provide the best opportunity to ensure the outfield is ready after a detailed and intensive preparation plan."

The concerts staged at Old Trafford have often been controversial but provided vital funding for the club when they were threatened with going out of business. However, earlier this year the chief executive Daniel Gidney said they were no longer a necessity given how the club had recovered financially and its other income streams.

"We don't need concerts financially," Gidney told the Manchester Evening News. "But from a community basis and commercial perspective they are still important to us. The quality of the pitch and outfield comes first. We need to look at technology so we can hold concerts without ever compromising or sacrificing the quality of cricket."

If Lancashire do manage to stage a home quarter-final it will be the last cricket at Old Trafford this season with plans having already been in place to allow extra time to relay the outfield ahead of next summer when the county will host World Cup matches and an Ashes Test.