Kumar Sangakkara set to serve second term as MCC president

Kumar Sangakkara will be invited to serve a second term as MCC president, in light of the current postponement of the club’s activities.

Sangakkara, the first overseas president of MCC, took office on October 1 last year, and recently participated in a successful club tour of Pakistan, his first return to the country since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009.

Presidents of MCC have traditionally only served 12-month terms, although during the First and Second World Wars, Lord Hawke (1914-18) and Stanley Christopherson (1939-45) both served for longer periods.

The proposal will be voted on at the club’s AGM on June 24, where the club will also consider raising funds through a new life membership scheme, in order to keep the redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich Stands on course during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to its membership, Guy Lavender, the secretary and chief executive, insisted that MCC – which is currently debt-free – was “not in crisis, or dire financial jeopardy”, but warned that “proactive and early decision-making is required” to respond to the implications of the virus.

Lord’s had been due to host two Tests this summer, against West Indies and Pakistan, in addition to a number of other high-profile contests including the final of the inaugural season of the Hundred, which has now been postponed until 2021.

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However, with all cricket postponed until July 1 at the earliest, and given the current focus on playing behind closed doors in bio-secure environments, it seems unlikely that Lord’s, with its central-London location and no on-site accommodation, will be able to host any major matches this year.

With its losses expected to run into tens of millions of pounds, MCC is determined to avoid a situation that impacts on the £50 million redevelopment work that got underway last year, and when completed will increase capacity at Lord’s by 2500 seats to 31,000.

The life-membership scheme has previously been adopted in 1926 and 1996 to fund the redevelopments of Lord’s Grandstand, and is expected to cost between £7,000 and £80,000, depending on age of the applicant.

MCC also confirmed that they will not be refunding annual subscription fees to its existing membership, which comprises 18,000 full members and 5,000 associates, who pay up to £600 for full access to Lord’s facilities, having waited in most cases for close to three decades for the privilege.

In his letter, Lavender confirmed that the committee had taken the decision reluctantly, adding: “subscriptions are the bedrock of the Club’s finances, critical to ensuring we weather the current storm. Ultimately, you own the Club and I hope that in that context you will be understanding of the position the Committee has felt it needed to take.”

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