World Cup organisers have warned of potential chaos at Super Eight matches in Guyana next week because the Providence Stadium is still not ready despite years of planning. The local organising committee and World Cup chiefs are already at loggerheads over the US$25 million venue.
On Friday, World Cup organisers relieved the local organising committee of control of the ground, with a British company taking charge in an effort to salvage the project ahead of the match between South Africa and Sri Lanka on March 28. Amongst the myriad problems at the venue, which is the only one on the South American mainland, are failures to provide security and crowd control turnstiles, poor accreditation facilities and video boards. Power shortages are also expected to blight the Indian-built venue.
Local media have also reported that Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, which hosted first-round games, and Jamaica's Trelawny Stadium, where warm-up matches were played, are on stand-by to stage the six matches planned for Georgetown. "We are objecting to them invoking the Host Venue Agreement because we think it was unwarranted and while I cannot prevent them, we are co-operating with them fully," Karran Singh, chief executive of Guyana's local organizing committee, told AFP.
In a strongly worded e-mail to Singh, and Frank Anthony, the Guyana Sports Minister, Derek Jones, the World Cup's senior legal counsel, said the decision to take over responsibility for completing remaining aspects of the venue followed concerns that were raised during several weeks about their "failure to proceed satisfactorily or effectively" in relation to the Host Venue Agreement (HVA).
"Your failure to deal adequately with these and other areas has resulted in Cricket World Cup 2007 being unable to have confidence in your ability to deliver a fully functional operating Super Eight venue in accordance with your contractual obligations."
Singh assured World Cup organisers that they were working to ensure that the matches go ahead. "We have done what we believe in our opinion is the best we can do to host the World Cup... we will have the World Cup matches here in a few days," he said. Jones, however, said the World Cup organisers had "lost confidence in the ability of the local organising committee to provide proper site management for the project up to and through the tournament period".