Windies cricket World Cup 2007 right on track Stabroek Sport Editor Donald Duff talks with Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies World Cup 20

Stabroek News
March 16, 2004

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Notwithstanding the West Indies' sudden and stunning defeat in the first Cable and Wireless Test match against England which ended in Jamaica on Sunday, one thing has not changed. The West Indies will stage the biggest sporting spectacle ever in the Caribbean in 2007. Yes, the Windies World Cup 2007 is still on, says the man who should know all about it. Chris Dehring is the Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies World Cup 2007. The young Jamaican businessman has been with the West Indies World Cup bid from the inception. Stabroek Sport caught up with Dehring during the West Indies/England first Test match.

DD: What is the present state of Windies World Cup 2007?

CD: Well, as you know, we issued all the bid books on February 19. We've had Venue Summit II in Barbados last week where all the various countries came to ask questions. I think from our perspective, we know all the countries of the Caribbean were very, very keen to host matches in 2007. But that was keenness in a vacuum. They did not know truly, the detailed technical requirements and standards that they had to be able to meet to host matches. Having distributed the Bid Book, which is essentially our venue development blueprint - which details the most technical standards - we had Venue Summit II to hear the concerns, issues and so on from the various countries [and] …clarify various things in the Bid Book. [It] went very, very well. All the countries seemed more concerned with being able to achieve the policytype of issues versus the technical standards and requirements. All the countries seemed very confident that they would be able to meet the requirements of the Bid Book and be able to submit bids on May 6. On March 10, we had a deadline, to receive Letters of Intent (LOI) and we've received LOI from 12 of the 13 countries.

DD: Which country has not submitted an LOI?

CD: We have not received LOI from the Cayman Islands. But that does not mean Cayman Islands is out per se. They are a registered Bid Committee, so they have until May 6, to submit a bid.

DD: How would you view the entire process at this time? Do you think we're on schedule, behind schedule or ahead of schedule?

CD: I would say we're right on track. Obviously, with events of this magnitude, you always wish you had a couple more years. But the reality is we are on track for where we think we should be in the Caribbean. The countries are going to have enough time to prepare themselves to host World Cup matches. And I think the resolve of the Caribbean that has been proven over the last few months in terms of putting themselves in a position to make bids… to complete that Bid Book and putting in place what is necessary to host matches, augurs very well for the Caribbean. We are a very resolute region and hosting the World Cup, the world may be very surprised at the type of results we will get.

DD: What are some of the technical requirements for a stadium?

CD: Well, it's a fairly evolved process. You're talking about technical requirements that range from the number of seating per package of matches. For obviously if you're hosting the final, the technical specs [specifications] will be very different from say an opening group game. So the document details, all of that is extremely challenging. It's a 259-page document so for me to go through one or two of them wouldn't do it justice. It's a very challenging exercise that countries are asked to go through in the bid process, which accomplishes a number of things. Firstly, it gives us a very sound and fair basis to assess countries, which, for my money, that is, probably the primary purpose. By forcing countries to go through this process, completing the 24 deliveries in exact detail, you are actually preparing a country to host matches. So at the end of the exercise, you will have a cadre of professionals in each country who know exactly what needs to be done to host matches. And that gives us the best chance of putting on the best World Cup ever.

DD: How have governments been reacting to the Windies World Cup Bid?

CD: Well, we've always been getting their support and we continue to get their support. In fact, at the end of the month, we'll be meeting with the Prime Ministers again at the next Intercessional meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government. They know exactly what is at stake. They told us before we went to get the World Cup in 1998. In fact, I remember one Prime Minister saying to me before we went to make our proposals to the ICC `Don't drop that ball'. So they were very much behind the Cricket World Cup from the inception. They know what has been happening and they know we have to deliver on it. It's a nofail scenario. We can't fail. We're in it and we're going to do it. We've gotten their support throughout.

DD: But have they put anything in place in support of WWC 2207?

CD: By virtue of the fact that all the bid committees were formed, yes. For instance, all these bid committees have been set up as joint ventures essentially between the governments of each country and their local cricket association. And then from that they are putting together their bids, which takes a lot of professionals. It draws on the resources of each country all of which have to be put in place by essentially governments and the local cricket association. So by extension of that you will understand that governments have to do their part. And they have been doing their part in most of the countries.

DD: What are the next steps for Windies World Cup 2007 for the remainder of the year?

CD: Well certainly by May 6, we're going to get all the various bids. Those bids are going to be professionally assessed, recommendations are going to be made after that the allocation of packages and then we will allocate those matches to the various countries. June 12 is the targeted date to make that announcement so that countries may know exactly what they have. There's a period thereafter [for] actual details, planning with each country in terms of their venues etc. Then come September this year, you really are working as one team and they'll be constant meetings with the various groupings, functional units in terms of marketing… operational and legal issues across the board.

DD: Your final thoughts?

CD: Well it is an effort that I think everyone in the Caribbean needs to take to heart and take to their spirit. There has to be a unified effort to pull this off. And I think we will rise to that challenge. I have no doubt that the countries of the Caribbean will produce the best cricket World Cup ever.