Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Sir Viv Stadium, no problem

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment
Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda.
Conliffe Phillip, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium manager.
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NORTH SOUND, Antigua: The Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, in North Sound, Antigua, much like the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica was built ahead of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, but since then, both venues have had contrasting fates.

The similarities continue where both are located in areas surrounded by unused land space. In Jamaica, the Trelawny Stadium is seen by the public as being largely underused, creating a challenge for funding its maintenance. However, this is not the case for its Antiguan counterpart.

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium manager, Conliffe Phillip, said that despite its location, the complex is surviving, not only because of a government subsidy for maintenance, but also because of various activities it hosts.

"We do our part in raising funds because on the third floor, the Presidential Suite, there's an area where we have allocated for functions such as wedding receptions, parties, banquets and so on. From that, we raise a certain amount of funds," Phillip told The Gleaner.

"We have been blessed, so far, for this year, that we have the (Cricket West Indies) Regional Super50 tournament. We have, from March 26, the England Lions playing against the Windies A team, and so these games bring in revenue that go straight back in, to help with the maintenance."

Phillip said that local cricket tournaments, and football matches, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and concerts hosted by the stadium also act as a source of income. The stadium will also host matches in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 tournament in November.

Phillip explained that the public welcomes the location as it eases congestion in St John's, the largest city and capital in Antigua, on match days.

"The few criticisms that arose, were more to do with politics," Phillip shared. "When the stadium was built, the area was earmarked by the Antigua Labour Party government that was in power before, but right after the elections, there was a change in government and the United Progressive Party came into power. They did some shifting of the particular area - still the general area but they did a little shifting. But no, generally speaking, I think people were looking for something out of St John's, to come up here where there is a lot of parking area. People are more comfortable with the stadium being in this area."

It is also understood that there is also no issue with getting to and from the stadium, as it lies on one of the country's main bus routes.

Phillip said that he is not aware of the surrounding area being developed by residential zoning but the stadium will see a park being built nearby to facilitate more recreational activity.

Jamaica's Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, had previously said that the government had what she then described as "big plans" to develop the Trelawny Stadium.

"I know there are plans for the development of villas and other such facilities in and around the area. So the potential is great, and it's really going to be a major development and will have tremendous impact on the communities around," Grange told The Gleaner in August last year.