BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - Barbados confirmed Friday it would extensively upgrade the Kensington Oval to bolster the country's bid to stage top games during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.
Government officials including Sports Minister Rudolph Greenidge and Housing Minister Gline Clarke, and Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) boss Stephen Alleyne jointly announced refurbishing plans for the famous ground while dismissing speculation that the country would invest in a new stadium complex for its World Cup bid.
The Barbados government has agreed to acquire land and relocate houses surrounding the Kensington Oval to facilitate a massive restructuring of the ground for the world's biggest cricket tournament.
Ministers Greenidge and Clarke, toured Kensington on Friday with several top cricket officials and declared plans to acquire space around the complex to facilitate improved car-parking, practice pitches, and the relocation of some stands that may be demolished and upgraded.
"We believe that if the BCA and the Ministry of Sports work with the private sector, these matters can be achieved," Clarke told reporters.
World Cup tournament organisers have been insisting that preferential treatment to stage games would not be accorded to traditional international cricket venues - like the Kensington Oval - but would depend purely on the quality of the bids.
The Kensington Oval was the location for the first test match ever played in the West Indies in 1930, when the game against England was drawn.
In recent years, country's like Grenada and St. Lucia, who were previously unable to land major international cricket matches, have constructed impressive modern cricket stadiums that are expected stake strong bids for games in the 2007 tournament.