Trust boss blames promoter as Auckland Tourism hopeful of solution

Around $6 million of ratepayer money is tied up in the clash between the National Rugby League and the International Cricket Council over the availability of Eden Park early next year.

A spokesman confirmed Auckland Council had paid $3 million to the local organising committee of Cricket World Cup 2015 to assist with hosting four matches in the city. A similar sum has also been earmarked for next year's NRL Auckland Nines - an event that is now in jeopardy because of the ICC's exclusive right to use Eden Park.

The ICC's contract with Eden Park states the venue cannot be used for any other events from 30 days before the World Cup match between the Black Caps and Australia on February 28, effectively locking down the city's major stadium from January 27.

The Herald understands the NRL will not let the Nines take place before January 30 due to concerns about player welfare.


The ICC has so far refused to budge on its exclusive use clause despite a suggested date for the Nines leaving Eden Park clear for 27 days. That stance will be of concern to Auckland Council, which yesterday released figures showing this year's sold out NRL Nines tournament generated over $9 million for the city's economy.

Eden Park Trust chief executive David Kennedy said the clash had occurred because NRL Nines promoters Duco Events had taken so long to propose a date for the 2015 tournament.

"It has been dragging on some time because of them," Mr Kennedy said.

Duco director David Higgins said Mr Kennedy's comments were silly and irresponsible.

An NRL spokesperson said it was up to Auckland Council and Duco to confirm the dates for the Nines.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development chief executive Brett O'Riley said he was optimistic a solution would be reached.

A spokesman for Cricket World Cup 2015 said it did not yet have enough information to fully consider the request to defer the exclusive use period.