ICC Raise Concerns over Readiness of 2011 World Cup Venues


An interim report from the ICC says the original 30th November deadline for completion of construction, which neither stadium has met, is likely to be over-run by at least a month and warns that, if construction at these venues is not completed by 15th January, “it is not possible to confirm that the venues will be in a suitable condition to be handed over by 31st January “.

The inspection team, headed by ICC events manager Chris Tetley, visited the World Cup venues in India in late November and early December. In its evaluation – first reported in the Deccan Herald – it listed the pending work and expressed doubts over its completion by the end of the year. The report quotes Professor Eugene van Vuuren, the ICC’s Stadium Consultant, as saying construction programmes were likely to be completed by late January at the earliest. “This pre-supposes no unforeseen delays or further impacts on construction by the current poor weather.”

Beyond the construction work, there are a number of other tasks that will also need to be finished before any games can be played. These include landscaping and necessary beautification of the grounds, interior finishing and furnishing, the installation of entry gates, certification by local authorities, and the installation of temporary infrastructure required specifically for the World Cup.

The report is reminiscent of the situation with the Commonwealth Games in Delhi earlier this year, where venues and other facilities were completed at the last moment and after widespread criticism by various stakeholders – athletes, officials, administrators – and the global media.

Tournament director Ratnakar Shetty said this was the first he was hearing about the report but added that he was confident of the work being done in time. “There are two parts of the job that have to be completed in the Wankhede Stadium: the last of the construction and the finishing of the details,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “The construction will stop by 31st December, after which the rest of the work will be done to finish the access to the stadium and all the smaller details.

“I’m quite confident it will be done by January 15, which is two months before the Wankhede Stadium’s first World Cup game. In any case, the major work at Wankhede is already done, with regard to the corporate boxes and the bucket seats.”

He said the World Cup organisers would want the ICC to carry out another visit to the Wankhede, Eden Gardens and three Sri Lankan venues around 15th January.

The report was especially scathing about the condition of Eden Gardens, which it said had more unresolved issues than any other venue, and of the local administration. “Unfortunately, the venue administration did not recognise the requirements of the event and were often unwilling to discuss or agree to what was required. There was a tendency to rely on experiences of previous World Cup matches which took place in 1996, and are not wholly relevant to the needs of stakeholders for CWC 2011.”

The report states that “a meeting with Mr Dalmiya, president of the Cricket Association of Bengal was useful in explaining a few of the issues; however he was not present for discussion on the detailed requirements of the inspection team.”

It said a decision would soon be taken on whether to start building the roof on two of the blocks – if the roof was not built, the chances of completion would be greater and there would be no impact on staging World Cup matches.

Construction work apart, the outstanding issues include:

•Tickets and hospitality currently offered for the use of ICC sponsors are unacceptable

•Sightscreens at both ends need to be raised

•A suitable location for the D/L Manager needs to be found. The upstairs room is not appropriate

•The anti-doping and medical rooms need to be separate facilities and not shared

•An overflow location for media and NRH needs to be identified and demarcated

•Uninterrupted back-up power is required for the floodlights and replay screens

The Wankhede Stadium, it said, would be an “excellent facility for international cricket” when completed but noted “there is still much to be done”. The pending work includes:

•Uninterrupted power supply for the floodlights and replay screens

•A significant amount of one-way tinting to be placed on glass frontages above sightscreens at both ends

•The umpires changing room needs to move from the designated space under construction to the location allocated to the medical and anti-doping rooms

•The anti-doping and medical rooms need to be separate facilities and not shared

The interim report concludes by stating, “It will be necessary to re-inspect both venues and take a decision on the viability of staging the World Cup matches as currently scheduled.”

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