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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006, 15:29 GMT
Q&A - Windies World Cup boss
By Martin Gough

With a year to go before the opening game of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, tournament chief executive Chris Dehring told BBC Sport about the challenges that have already been overcome, and those still ahead.


How different will this World Cup be from the previous eight?

Windies World Cup 2007 chief executive Chris Dehring
Chris Dehring heads a project that began way back in 1997
The unique way people celebrate the game in the Caribbean, on and off the field, infects our daily living.

When the rest of the world thinks of the Caribbean as a paradise and the Cricket World Cup is an extension of that.

Other countries show a passion for the game but nowhere else has the same level of fun.

Being West Indian is a state of mind and we expect people to become West Indian for the tournament, to say, "Relax, this is a wonderful place, win or lose."

Where have you found the biggest challenge so far?

It is a great challenge to coordinate an event across nine countries.

Short of a natural disaster - we have another hurricane season to go - the new venues will be ready well in time
We have a blueprint applied to all countries but not every solution works across the board and we have to tweak according to geography and resources.

A law might vary from one country to another or a different government agency might be in charge of a certain area.

All the venues are different, too. An established stadium within a city has existing constraints but a brand new one is easier to plan around.

Which area has provided the biggest headache?

Honestly, there isn't one particular area. The challenge changes day-to-day but we are finding solutions.

We feel on top of everything, we're vigorously monitoring and addressing problems quickly.

We are now into serious delivery mode, the clock is ticking and people are feeling the pressure. They realise the timeline will not move and there is a sense of urgency.

Before, prime ministers were comfortable for the event to sit in one of their ministries but some have now moved it into their own offices and people now realise directives have to be acted upon.

Short of a natural disaster - we have another hurricane season to go - the new venues will be ready well in time.

Testing begins in July and I'm confident we will have some fantastic facilities.

Have you been surprised by the amount of cynicism over whether venues will be ready in time?

In terms of venue development there has never been this level of investment in West Indies cricket
I'm not surprised. Perhaps with what has happened in the past some of it has been justified. Sport has never been businesslike in the region.

But everyone is in for a pleasant surprise.

A lot of people are not aware our planning began in 1997 and has been very thorough.

When they did not see concrete and steel many people were concerned but now it is there a lot of the scepticism has gone away.

How much does the success of the West Indies team matter to the success of the event?

It matters to me and to everyone in the Caribbean.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle celebrate
West Indies upset England in the 2004 Champions Trophy final
If we're going to have a successful tournament and enthuse people we have to have an enthusiastic local population so we have to have a successful West Indies team.

But to be frank we believe we have a competitive team.

We're ICC Champions Trophy one-day kings after winning in 2004 - England don't like to be reminded about losing that final - and we're at home.

We're going to carry our boys on our backs and help them be successful.

How much has the sponsorship row that hit the West Indies team last year affected the tournament?

Every cloud has a silver lining. The general knowledge and education about sponsorship and ambush marketing has grown greatly.

A year ago if you asked 10 people what ambush marketing was they wouldn't be able to tell you. Now the term is commonplace.

It has helped us push through sunset legislation [which applies across all countries for the duration of the tournament] and educated people about business methods.

Clearly it has had a negative impact on the team but we hope that is behind us and the players and administrators understand the important role the team has to play.

What sort of legacy will the tournament leave the Caribbean?

In terms of venue development there has never been this level of investment in West Indies cricket.

We have 12 brand new stadiums and 20 refurbished practice venues and the facilities will stand West Indies in good stead.

The profits will help the West Indies Cricket Board recover its financial status.

The region is showing it is capable of hosting events of this stature and that it is now a place for leisure but for business too.

Finally, who do you think will reach the final, and who do you tip to win?

[Laughs]

It's going to be a West Indies versus England final, just like the Champions Trophy final.

I think it's going to be close but the West Indies will win it.




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