Bermuda cricket April 19, 2009

Bermuda government cut grants but confirm commitment

Cricinfo staff

The fallout from Bermuda's poor showing at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers continues with the announcement that the government is reducing the grant to the Bermuda Cricket Board by $1 million. The news comes against the backdrop of retirements and recriminations following the country's failure to qualify for the 2011 World Cup and loss of ODI status.

However, it could have been far worse and the BCB will be heartened by the assurance that the government will continue to support the game's development.

"The investment is not just about results of the national team, it has to be about development as well," explained sports minister Glenn Blakeney. "It's not just for the here and now but for the future which is why I feel we have made the right commitment with regard to the resources for soccer and cricket."

But he added his voice to those who have expressed concerns about the professionalism of the side. "The coach [Gus Logie] has articulated some of his concerns and they need to be looked at seriously. I think if we are going to be contracting our players and paying them there has to be very stringent criteria on what is expected - code of conduct, fitness consistent levels of fitness testing, which seems to be an area where we fall down."

He also said that the government remained committed to helping to improve the National Centre which is the home to Bermuda's only approved international venue.

"For the ground to be an ODI ground we need to make some significant changes there. It doesn't necessarily mean that should be placed completely on the backburner with Bermuda losing it's ODI status. An ODI ground can be available to a full international with other countries playing as well.

Blakeney went on to say that he was concerned at the lack of public support for sports. "I would like to see more teams coming into the county. I want the public of Bermuda to feel a commitment to supporting our best at whatever level we are competing and I think that has been lost. When I was growing up you would have 2500 to 3000 people at a local game. We had teams like Manchester United, Southampton and Aston Villa coming into the country for pre-season tours. That has been lost and my thinking is that we need to bring that back.

"I have to speak to the cricket board to see where their heads are at. They have lost some funding and we need to see what their vision is where their focus will be."