Speed predicts World Cup logistical problems By Tony Jimenez
Guyana Chronicle
February 6, 2007

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DUBAI, (Reuters) - Chief executive Malcolm Speed says the International Cricket Council (ICC) took on a sizeable task by agreeing to stage the World Cup on nine different Caribbean islands and has called for understanding when problems arise.

"There will be logistical problems, everyone knows that," Speed told Reuters at the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament. "There will be times when for one reason or other the arrangements are criticised in the media.

"I think we need to bear in mind the size of the undertaking of playing a major sporting event in nine countries. Each country is different from one other, they do very little together but have all come together to host this World Cup."

Speed acknowledged transportation would be a major issue during the March 13-April 28 tournament in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and St Kitts and Nevis.

"The issue of getting people to the next country is difficult but there are people who have been working on it for several years now and we hope to have very few problems," said the 58-year-old Australian.

"Players and officials will be going on charter flights so that should not be a problem. There will be problems for spectators as it is difficult to get about the Caribbean on normal commercial flights."

UNIQUE WORLD CUP Speed, who will attend the ICC's final pre-World Cup board meeting in Trinidad on Friday, was hopeful the cricket facilities would be in good working order in the West Indies.

"It seems all the venues are on track, the grounds will be excellent," he said. "They are working very hard to get the pitches and the playing fields up to standard.

"I am quite confident the work that's gone into the planning for the venues has been outstanding and that anyone who goes to these venues will be very impressed with what they see."

The World Cup was first staged in England in 1975 but Speed said the forthcoming tournament would be different to the previous eight editions.

"I think it will be a unique World Cup," he said. "We are playing in nine countries who have put in a lot of work while the governments have provided exceptionally good support."

On the playing side, Speed said that even though England's stock had slumped after a string of poor Test and one-day performances in Australia, they will have been given a lift by Friday's 92-run victory over the world champions in Sydney.

"It was good to see England win a game a couple of days ago, hopefully that's a sign they will bounce back and be in contention at the World Cup," said Speed.

"If they can get a bit of momentum early, have a couple of wins, who knows what could happen?