St. John’s Antigua- Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) has been asked to have a number of issues associated with Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds rectified ahead of the country’s first home fixture against regional powerhouse Jamaica in the semi-final round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on June 12.
This is according to President Everton “Batow” Gonsalves, who outlined said issues ranging from the grassing of the pitch to the surroundings of the grounds arose during an inspection of the facility by FIFA-appointed inspector Patrick Beckles of Barbados.
One such requirement, according to Gonsalves, is the availability of a defibrillator at the grounds during the FIFA sanctioned matches. A defibrillator is an electrical device that provides a shock to the heart when there is a life-threatening arrhythmia present.
“In terms of the management of the stadium, he looked at the adequate grassing of the pitch areas. As you know, cricket is being played at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium and that is an area that causes some concerns when football is being played because it’s hard, has no grass and players tend to slip around. And in terms of where we want to and how we want to present the Viv Richards stadium for that first (home) match against Jamaica, we have about six weeks to have the area fully grassed,” he said.
“They looked at things also like plumbing, not only for the players dressing areas, but also for the patron areas. They looked at the seating. They also looked at the cleaning of debris that might have accumulated within the tunnels where players exit and enter the fields. They looked at the surroundings of the Sir Viv Richards stadium which needs some sprucing up. One of the main items though that we must have at the grounds is what they call a defibrillator.”
Gonsalves, a former national and Villa Lions striker, however expressed confidence that with the input of government, the facility will be ready ahead of the next scheduled inspection.
“We are right on the ball as to our preparations. Mr Beckles will return to make sure that everything is in place and I believe that’s about a week before that match; and so by that time, we would be able to come back and tell you that all is in place when it comes to stadium readiness,” he said.
Antigua & Barbuda Benna Boys will take on the USA on June 8 in Florida before returning to Antigua for the Jamaica contest on June 12.
Tickets for the Jamaica match range between $40 per child under the age of 10 to the $75 adults’ fee.
All tickets must be bought in advance, as tickets would not be sold at the grounds on the day of the contest.