We will be ready for 2007 World Cup By Chris Dehring
Stabroek News
March 24, 2002

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ARE WE READY to host the International Cricket CouncilĘs World Cup in 2007? With the current state of our grounds, lack of infrastructure, among other things today, we are notąbut we will be, and we intend to make it the best World Cup ever.

That's because we are being systematic and deliberate in our preparations to host this prestigious event, and have great confidence in the ability of the Caribbean people to deliver.

The magnitude of the event in 2007 needs to be understood in order for people in the Caribbean to realise the nature of preparation which is required.

When the financial responsibilities, logistical challenges and economic opportunities are considered, the World Cup may well be the largest single transaction ever to take place in the region. We are, therefore, approaching it with the care and diligence that an event of this importance requires.

As managing director of Windies World Cup 2007, over the past four months I have undertaken extensive research and held numerous discussions with organizations and individuals all over the world, including many who have been involved in the organising of cricket World Cups, the Olympic Games and, even, football World Cups.

It is critical that we learn from the successes and mistakes of others and even more critical that we adopt an entirely global approach to the management of this mega event. Global, because as I've said many times in the past, this is not our cricket World Cup as so many people believe it is.

We are the designated hosts of the 2007 ICC World Cup. That means we have been entrusted with the responsibility on behalf of the entire cricket world, some 74 countries, to execute the event. We will, therefore, be working very closely with the ICC and the Global Cricket Corporation that owns the substantial commercial rights to the event, to deliver the content that satisfies the lucrative television and sponsorship contracts already negotiated.

The contracts guarantee the ICC US$550 million in revenues for the cricket World Cups in 2003 and 2007, and the ICC Knock Out trophy.

To say that our cricket venues generally are inadequate would be an understatement. But that is only one of the many challenges we face in preparing to host the World Cup.

Intra regional transportation, accommodation and general event logistics given the widespread geographic reality of hosting any event across so many islands pose equally daunting prospects. Ground transportation, standardised event medical services, media management and communication will also be difficult.

All of the challenges are exacerbated with the thousands of visitors anticipated for the event. As they often do, these challenges present opportunities for us to leave a lasting legacy of cricket infrastructure that will serve West Indies cricket well into the future.

It will also help the Caribbean to reap the economic rewards of hosting one of the world's biggest sporting events - 54 limited overs international matches, 14 teams, cumulatively 800,000 patrons and 1.5 billion television viewers.

It will also be an opportunity for us to show the world the best the Caribbean has to offer in management ability, culture and lifestyle.

In putting together a master plan for the hosting of 2007 cricket World Cup, we have armed ourselves with the information of what other major event organisers have done, and will be applying what we feel is relevant, and necessary for us to stage a successful World Cup.

Of course, given the unique situation of managing an event across potentially 14 different countries or more, we intend to incorporate innovations in our event management and project planning which others may well learn from going forward. This includes the extensive use of the latest technology to establish a uniformed management framework to execute the event.

The cooperation and assistance of Caribbean Governments is crucial for us to accomplish our goal. To this end, CARICOM Governments have been periodically briefed on developments and they in turn have given their commitment to do whatever is necessary to host a successful event.

Once approved by the WICB, the Master Plan that is being developed will be presented to the Governments and rolled out across the Caribbean in earnest. Thereafter we will be keeping the public informed every step along the way as we build momentum, awareness and support for this giant undertaking.

Since neither Governments nor WICB will be able to stage this World Cup successfully alone, our worst enemy is apathy by the people of the Caribbean since the event seems so far away. The public must be galvanised and energized, and the opportunity will be there for them to get involved and make this the greatest World Cup there ever was or ever will be.

We certainly look forward to that support and the ever reliable spirit of the Caribbean.

CHRIS DEHRING is managing director of Windies World Cup 2007.