‘Rising costs’ sends up cricket upgrade bill
Pools under construction where the bleachers were located. (photo by Robertson S Henry)
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May 3, 2024

‘Rising costs’ sends up cricket upgrade bill

Major refurbishment and infrastructural upgrades at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex are speeding ahead for the staging of the 2024 ICC Men’s T/20 World Cup games in June with various figures being thrown around for the cost.

Head of the Local Organising Committee, Michael Findlay, during a press conference to provide updates on the country’s readiness for the competition, explained that a tremendous amount of repairs and upgrades had to be made and the budget had been exceeded.

“No, we are not within that budget because costs are rising every day. Most of the stuff, big-price items like the lights we had to order…come from places like China, and if you get a quote last week, by the time you are ready to pay for it, it has gone up. We originally budgeted just under US$40 million for the repairs and the upgrades,” Findlay told the media at a April 28, 2024 briefing.

He also said that the budget had reached to “$50 million USD”.

However, speaking on NBC Radio on May 1, 2024,Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves provided a different set of figures and quoted the bill in local currency not US dollars. He placed the original budget at EC$33 million and revealed that the revised figure is EC$38 million.

He echoed Findlay’s statement that the cost of items had gone up.

At Monday’s press conference, Findlay explained that the double decker stand, built in 2007, was not fully completed, so work had to be done on that area, in addition to expansion of the Players’ Pavilion.

“There are a lot more players and management teams involved now than there were in 2007, so we did the Players Pavilion bigger. Internally, we have got to cut some things, expand the dressing room, put in more ice baths…. The private boxes had been demolished because they deteriorated very badly.”

The concrete bleachers were removed and are being replaced with a grass mound to hold four swimming pools in the Party Stand area.

“The media centre has been refurbished and the Mike Findlay stand and the seats were refurbished, and some are new. We built a gym on the first floor of the double decker, it was previously in the players pavilion but we needed space, so we had to remove the gym from there, Findlay explained.

“ What is happening with cricket- there used to be a team of 15, now there is a team of 20. Apart from the team, you have a management team that is about the same size as the team as well.”

Findlay revealed that they are still awaiting concrete figures on arrivals for the World Cup.

“It is difficult to say at this stage how many people we are expecting…we are expecting a lot of people, but we have to realize that our capacity is just over 10,000 people. I think it is 10,200 and the hotel rooms we have [are] not as many as we were hoping that we would get more hotels on board by now. We haven’t, so we are basically just above where we were in 2007.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will host five matches- three at the group stage on June 13, Bangladesh versus The Netherlands; on June 14, South Africa versus Nepal; and on June 16, Bangladesh versus Nepal. These group stage matches will be followed by two qualifying matches- on June 22 with the first placed team in Group C clashing with the second placed team in Group B; and on June 24, the first placed team in Group C will go up against the second placed team in Group D.