Sports

Cricket fans to be given chance to buy piece of Lord’s for £500

Cricket fans will soon have the opportunity to buy their own slice of Lord's, the sport's historic London stadium.

Shares in the underground tunnels that stretch below the Nursery End of the ground will be sold to fans for £500 each.

The initiative, which will be marketed at cricket fans in India, Australia and the US as well as the UK, hopes to attract thousands of buyers to the chance to have a financial stake in the "home of cricket".

Owner of the head lease on the tunnels Charles Rifkind is partnering with New Commonwealth Consortium, a recently-established property group led by former England captain David Gower and former Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) chief executive Keith Bradshaw to sell shares in the land as tokens dubbed "Lordscoin" which can be traded through the London Block Exchange.

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"Some of my fondest memories are from playing in this ground", said Gower.

"So I'm delighted that people from across the world will be able to join me and purchase their own piece of this historic and iconic ground."

The initiative comes after Rifkind's proposals to develop the land by building luxury flats — a project which would have generated an estimated £150m cash windfall for the MCC — were rejected by the club's members last September.

It was the latest dead-end in a long-running tussle between the two parties started when Rifkind bought the tunnels from Network Rail for £2.35m in 1999.

Bradshaw, now chief executive of the South Australian Cricket Association, was a supporter of Rifkind's various redevelopment proposals during his six years in charge but was frustrated in his efforts to seal approval for the plans from the MCC's membership.

Those members will be offered discount rate for tokens in the long-term investment which would provide holders with the chance to cash in should any redevelopment eventually occur, although the MCC lease above the tunnels does not expire until 2137.

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