Boxing Day Test will stay at Melbourne: Cricket Australia

Melbourne, June 26 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) has reassured cricket fans that the Boxing Day Test match will remain in the city after reports suggested the iconic fixture could be handed over to the highest bidding city in the future.

The Boxing Day Test begins annually on December 26 between Australia and a visiting foreign team and is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

The report, published in Friday’s Australian newspapers, said that a “new era” of commercial competition had resulted in states competing for major events such as Tests and One-Day Internationals, and a consequence of this could be the Boxing Day Test leaving its traditional base of Melbourne.

“The suggestion that there’s going to be a move away from the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) for the Boxing Day Test is absolutely not correct,” CA’s Executive General Manager of Operations, Mike McKenna was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Friday.

“We’ve got no plans whatsoever to move cricket and the Boxing Day Test from Melbourne.”

Sports minister of the Victorian state, John Eren was also opposed to the idea of Melbourne losing the Boxing Day Test, saying that it made no commercial sense.

“I think it’s ludicrous for anybody to suggest that the Boxing Day Test would be moved anywhere else other than Melbourne because it would actually lose money,” Eren said.

McKenna pointed out the value of the Boxing Day Test to the Victorian government as a major tourist drawcard on the national calendar, and denied that CA was attempting to leverage money from state governments.

“The Boxing Day Test and other great cricket events around the country draw huge audiences both here and overseas, and we think it’s a great way for states to promote their state, their tourism benefits and to make an impact that benefits the people of the state that is hosting,” he said.

“We’re just trying to get the government to spend money that they spend already on cricket rather than other sports.”

“We have things that are worth anything from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to well over a million dollars. We’re not talking about massive amounts of money – nothing substantial, nothing that the government doesn’t already spend on marketing the city of Melbourne.”

CA is set to release its full 2015-16 fixture in the next week.

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