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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
World Cup bans stump Grenada fans
By Ron Bhola
BBC, St George's

Grenada's National Stadium
Grenada's National Stadium has been rebuilt for the World Cup

Looking around Grenada's new National Stadium in St George's, the capital of the eastern Caribbean country of 100,000 souls, it is hard not to be impressed.

Hurricane Ivan destroyed much of the tri-island state in 2004, including its then recently constructed cricket stadium. A second hurricane followed in 2005 before Chinese workers began work on this new one.

The government has even declared a public holiday in recognition of Grenada's first World Cup match - the Super Eights tie between the West Indies and South Africa on 10 April.

The local side have to win their next three matches against South Africa, Bangladesh and England to have any hope of making the semi-finals.

But it is uncertain how many Grenadians will rally around the West Indies in the stadium.

Things should have been more relaxed and flexible and then they would have filled the stadium
David "Bumpy" Griffiths
Grenada cricket fan

Travelling by bus across the mountainous spine of the country to St George's, there was heated debate - mostly critical - concerning what many considered high ticket prices and severe restrictions on what refreshments may be brought into the stadium.

From his house across the road from the massive canopy roofs of the stadium, cricket fan and retired Fifa referee David "Bumpy" Griffiths told me he would not be going to the match on Tuesday.

Wrong culture?

"They imported a culture on us which, I think, is not the best thing for the Caribbean - too many restrictions," he said. "If you going in with a bottle of water you have to uncover it. Things should have been more relaxed and flexible and then they would have filled the stadium."

Bumpy Griffiths blames the local organising committees around the Caribbean for failing to impress upon the International Cricket Council just how unpalatable the imposition of some of the security and commercial restrictions would be on local fans.

'Opportunity lost'

In the week before the match, the communication manager of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament in Grenada, Troy Garvey, appealed for understanding and co-operation from supporters in the face of bans on capped bottled water and the red tape involved in seeking written permission to carry traditional instruments like conch shells into the stadium.

"We have the opportunity in Grenada to come out and buy tickets and show the region we can put on a great show despite two natural disasters," he said.

Grenada hurricane devastation
Hurricane Ivan devastated the island of Grenada in 2004

Later, the chairman of the LOC in Grenada, Henry Joseph, said musical bans had been relaxed. The stewards will waive through those carrying conch shells and drums.

But the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell, who also chairs the regional grouping Caricom's prime ministerial sub-committee on cricket, has admitted that things would be done differently if the region were to host an international tournament again.

"It is clear that some of the things that were accepted by our negotiating team may not have been the wisest thing in terms of the success, in terms of the involvement of the people," Mr Mitchell said.

West Indies cricket must be hoping that this mea culpa is not too little too late.


SEE ALSO
Grenada investigates anthem gaffe
04 Feb 07 |  Americas
Cricket win prompts Dhaka parties
08 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Humbled Indian team returns home
29 Mar 07 |  South Asia
Timeline: Grenada
14 Dec 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Grenada
07 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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