The iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will be renamed for sponsorship reasons, according to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja.
The reason for the name change is entirely commercial, with no political connotations. After being named in honour of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, the stadium has been known by its current name for the past 50 years.
According to Ramiz Raja, the cricket board is in advanced talks with a number of sponsors, one of whom will be awarded the right to rename the stadium as they see fit. Once sponsors are lined up, the National Stadium in Karachi, as well as other major cricket stadiums across the country, may be renamed.
“We hired YouGov to help us determine the brand value of our stadiums and how much sponsorship deals would be worth,” Ramiz explained. “This is true not only of the Gaddafi Stadium, but also of the NSK and other stadiums.” We’ve been working on this for quite some time, and the response from sponsors has been positive. Once we reach an agreement [for Lahore], the name Gaddafi will be replaced by the name of a sponsor.”
The stadium was originally named Lahore Stadium but was renamed in 1974 after former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi gave a speech in Lahore during the OIC conference. n The name change will also signal the end of one of cricket’s most bizarre venue names. When it was built in 1959, the stadium was originally known as Lahore Stadium.
The name of the stadium has evolved over time, moving away from the name of the politician who inspired it, and any links between the stadium and the president have long since been severed.
When Gaddafi was deposed, there were strong indications that Pakistan cricket would seek to distance itself from him and his most famous stadium, but that movement faded over time.