Emirates Old Trafford is delighted to announce that the Club's Operations Team has been named ‘Team of the Year’ by the Meetings Industry Association (Mia) for its work to implement and deliver international cricket this summer in a behind-closed-doors, bio-secure environment, in a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday 8 December.
This summer, Emirates Old Trafford became one of the first venues anywhere in the world to accommodate elite International sporting competition when it hosted a behind-closed-doors Test Match Series against the West Indies, at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in June 2020. Australia and Pakistan also stayed at Emirates Old Trafford over the course of the summer.
Working alongside the UK Government and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the Club’s Operations Team created a comprehensive operational and safety plan from scratch to successfully create a bio-secure environment.
As a result, Emirates Old Trafford ensured 21 days of international cricket were played and broadcast by Sky Sports and BBC Sport, helping to deliver the ECB’s broadcast deal. Events were delivered returning zero positive Coronavirus tests from the hundreds of players, staff and contractors on-site during the four-month period.
In addition to this award, Emirates Old Trafford has also been shortlisted in the Sports Business Awards which takes place on Wednesday 16 December and Exhibition News Awards, for its work this summer delivering bio-secure behind-closed-door international cricket this summer.
Chief Executive Daniel Gidney said, “I’m hugely proud of our Operations Team for what they have achieved this summer in very challenging circumstances. Of course I am biased, but it’s hugely well-deserved for the sheer amount of hard work and dedication that was shown throughout the Club.
“Looking back now, and particularly in light of recent events in South Africa over the last couple of days, for Emirates Old Trafford to successfully host 21 days of international cricket was a phenomenal achievement and cannot be underestimated how challenging it is to manage a bio secure environment for elite sport. I’d also like to thank the England and Wales Cricket Board for all their help and assistance, as well as all of the Club’s stakeholders who have supported us this year. It was genuinely a team effort where we came together as one and helped international sport get back up and running.
“The whole team at Emirates Old Trafford deserve huge credit. We’ve got some very experienced and talented individuals who have delivered Ashes Test Matches, World Cup fixtures, concerts such as One Love Manchester in recent years, but this year was completely different. It was certainly more of a mental challenge compared to physical, and one which we all hope not to experience again, all being well.
“I’d like to give a particular mention to Operations Director Steve Davies, who only joined the Club in April from Merlin Entertainments. For him to start his new role in the midst of a global pandemic, working from home and to create comprehensive operational and safety plans which then helped deliver bio-secure, behind-closed-doors international cricket this summer, was remarkable.”
After successfully hosting behind-closed-door matches, Emirates Old Trafford launched the Safe in One Place campaign to share the knowledge and best practice gained from creating a bio-secure venue with the wider events industry.
The initiative saw the Club share key guidelines for the wider events industry via the Emirates Old Trafford website and host a virtual roundtable with a panel of industry leaders, sharing key learnings from operating venues during the pandemic and discussing the future of the events and hospitality industry.
Emirates Old Trafford looks forward to welcoming visitors back for major live events in 2021 with the hosting of international and domestic fixtures, the new Hundred competition as well as a concert with American supergroup, The Killers, on Saturday 12 June.