The chief executive of Warwickshire County Cricket Club has hit back at critics angered by plans to ask taxpayers to foot the £20million cost of a refurbishment programme.
Colin Povey said the money would ensure Test matches continue at Edgbaston and he is confident the club will make repayments – plus interest – despite the deepening economic crisis.
Mr Povey said: “International cricket generates £12million to the city when we host games and we are looking to create world class cricket facilities.
“We think the loan makes sense and the scheme would create 4,000 jobs over three to four years.
Mr Povey said the club presented a very detailed business and repayment plan to Birmingham City Council and were in discussions.
He said: “It’s clearly not in anyone’s interest to borrow something we couldn’t pay back.”
Mr Povey said cities such as Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester had presented similar ambitious schemes concerning their grounds and Birmingham should not miss out.
He added: “England will be hosting the 2019 Cricket World Cup and we are especially keen for Edgbaston to be one of the venues.”
A row had broken out after the club admitted they were discussing the possibility of a loan with Birmingham City Council to pay for two-thirds of the £30million cost of transforming the world-famous cricketing arena.
News of the bail-out angered Edgbaston Conservative city councillor James Hutchings, who wanted to know how long it would take the club to repay the loan and the rate of interest.