WICB takes major step to hosting World Cup 2007 By Tony Cozier
Stabroek News
April 27, 2003

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THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) takes what president Reverend Wes Hall calls "the first major step on the way" to staging the 2007 World Cup at a meeting with the representatives of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) in Barbados on Friday.

Its prime object is for Chris Dehring, chief executive of Windies World Cup 2007 (WWC 2007), the company set up by the WICB to plan and organise the event, to report on the progress made so far, Hall said.

"In turn, we expect to hear an assessment from them of where we are and what they require and for them to give us guidelines where necessary," he added. "In other words, we're getting down to the nitty-gritty of things."

Dehring, the Jamaican investment banker who formerly headed marketing at the WICB, was appointed to his post after successfully presenting the West Indies' bid for staging the ninth World Cup.

Hall noted that WWC 2007 had established a headquarters in Jamaica and done a lot of necessary groundwork. A chairman of the board is expected to be named soon to be followed by appointment board members.

Dehring and his interim committee has already presented its World Cup Master Plan to the WICB. It will form the basis of Friday's discussions with the ICC/GCC delegation to be headed by ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and GCC executive Ric Jameson.

Hall said Nicholas Lockerbee, an experienced venue assessment planner from the United States, had been contracted by WWC 2007 and would also report to Friday's meeting.

Plans to upgrade facilities at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and Kensington Oval in Barbados have already been announced and Grenada and St.Lucia have opened new stadiums in the past five years.

The Antigua government is considering buiding an entirely new cricket-only stadium and other venues have been advised what is necessary to host matches.

Other issues expected to be discussed on Friday are security, "ambush marketing" protection for sponsors, transportation and accomodation.

"We keep hearing negative comments from Doubting Thomases who question the capacity of Caribbean people to put on this major international event," Hall said.

"Of course, we know there is a lot of work to be done over the next two or three years," he added. "We have never staged anything of this magnitude but a lot of necessary preparatory work has gone on behind the scenes and we are confident that, under Chris, we have the expertise and the will to make 2007 the best World Cup ever."

Dehring has previously held informal meetings with ICC and GCC officials.

He attended the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the football World Cup in South Korea and Japan last year to observe first-hand the organization of the world's two biggest sporting events.

He also headed a delegation of 17 West Indian cricket and government officials to the recent 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa.


A NEW plan for the development of West Indies cricket, put forward by a select group of former Test players, is to be presented to the next meeting of West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) at the end of May.

It has come out of several meetings of the WICB's cricket committee, headed by former Test wicket-keeper and chief selector Mike Findlay and exclusively comprised of ex-Test players, and was finalised at its two-day meeting in Port-of-Spain prior to the second Test against Australia.

Sir Everton Weekes, Andy Roberts, Jackie Hendriks, Bryan Davis, Michael Holding, former West Indies' women's captain Ann Brown and the heads of the senior and junior team selectors are also on the committee.

"About a year ago, I asked the committee, as icons of the game, to look at our cricket and tell us where do we go from here," WICB president Reverend Wes Hall said. "They prepared a draft that they then fine tuned at their two-day meeting in Port-of-Spain."

Hall said his mandate to the committee stressed that it should not be restricted by financial considerations.

"What I asked them was to tell the board what they felt needed to be done, not whether it would cost $6 million or $2 million," he said. "What the board would do then was look at it, prioritorise, plan and implement."

Hall said the committee was "batting on a good wicket".

"Our youth cricket is already well defined and is producing players at senior levels, as we have seen in the Test series against Australia," he added. "we have the Shell Academy at St.George's University and are now conducting level 1, 2 and 3 coaching programme. Now they are telling us where we go from here."

It is a follow-up to the overall strategic plan devised by a committee under Teddy Griffith and presented to the WICB six years ago.

"I'm very excited about this strategy coming out of the players because it is good to get their perspective on the playing side of things rather than simply that of the administrators and then combine the two," Hall said.

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