Will the closed stands at MAC Stadium reopen for Chennai ODI on December 15?

The TNCA faces a race against time to reopen the I, J and K stands at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium for the India-West Indies ODI on December 15.

A view of the closed I, J and K stands at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, which is scheduled to host the India-West Indies ODI on December 15.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The ball is now in Madras Cricket Club’s court as the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association faces a race against time to reopen the I, J, and K stands for the India-West Indies ODI on December 15.

MCC President R. Ramesh told Sportstar on Wednesday, “First we will withdraw the writ petition, challenging the old lease amount demanded by the Government, in the High Court since the matter has now been settled. The case is coming up for hearing on Thursday.”

Then, after MCC pays a year’s lease amount of Rs. 1.5 crore in advance to the Government - it has been given three months to settle the arrears of Rs. 10.95 crore - the new lease agreement will come into play.  

After this, the MCC will approach the Corporation for permission to demolish the MCC gym to create the eight-metre setback space between MCC and the ‘K’ stand.

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The MCC president said, “The Corporation will tell us whether we have to approach the Heritage Conservation committee for clearance or not. There is a bit of gray area there.”  

Ramesh observed, “The gym in the MCC is clearly not a heritage structure. The only three areas of the MCC that are heritage structures are the squash court, the billiards room and the office building.”

Once the clearance for demolition is given, the gym can be taken down.

Ramesh noted, “The MCC has agreed to TNCA’s proposal to demolish the gym only due to the public interest since big matches were being denied to Chennai because of the three closed stands and so many thousands of fans could not be accommodated.”

He said before demolition, the MCC will sign a fresh MoU with the TNCA where the TNCA will agree to bear 100 per cent cost of building a new gym and give more tickets to the MCC since a lot more seats will be available.”

Ramesh noted, “The Government should consider bringing in a sports bill where the clubs that encourage and promote sports and are non-profit making in nature, should not have to pay huge lease amount.”

He said, ”Even the new lease amount is a big burden on us since 200 families are dependent on the club for a living.”

Meanwhile, the question remains. Will the three stands be reopened for the ODI at Chepauk on December 15?

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