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Caribbean 'gains through unity'


THE Caricom governments praised the organisation of the World Cup and felt the tournament had been a success, though the fact that actual total attendance was lower than the number of tickets sold was an unusual disappointment, despite good gross receipts of £16 million.

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A meeting of Caribbean heads of government in Barbados heard the interim World Cup report from the director Chris Dehring, and Keith Mitchell, Grenada’s Prime Minister, congratulated the organisers and cautioned against focusing too much on any negative aspects. He said: “All the Prime Ministers expressed how pleased we were generally with the Caribbean’s hosting of the event. We demonstrated to the world that we are very capable of hosting as well as anybody.

“This is the first time we have hosted anything of this scale and complexity and the first time in history that nine countries were coming together to do it. It is only natural that there are areas where we might have done better. Still, what is important is that the event overall was successful and we delivered.  The lessons learnt will only serve us better in the future as we host other events, including the Champions Trophy in 2010.”

Caricom leaders commended the organisers of the event -- the West Indies Board and the Local Organising Committees -- for the tremendous work done, particularly the construction and refurbishment of 12 stadiums and 22 practice facilities in time for the event. Mitchell said: “The Caribbean owes them a debt of gratitude and we as Prime Ministers recognised their outstanding contribution in our meeting today.”

Dehring said: “It has been an incredible 10-year journey, and the leadership and vision of Caricom leaders and the secretariat never wavered. What was particularly impressive was the ability of the nine countries in the region to come together when it mattered most and in the process meet all important timelines. In the context of a Caribbean single market, this should serve as a model for the future and an example of what can be achieved through unity.”

Dehring reported that the financial forecasts for the event remained robust and should shore up the finances of the West Indies Board by eliminating the accumulated deficit of that organisation. “Wrapping up an organisation of this size will take some time, but our forecasts show healthy profits for the event. In fact we hope to go down as the most profitable Cricket World Cup to date when the final numbers are tabulated.”

“We had the highly unusual circumstance of ticket sales substantially outpacing attendance. Over 672,000 tickets to the event were sold, which surpasses the last Cricket World Cup in South Africa, which sold 625,000 tickets. However, only 436,000 persons actually came through the turnstiles.”

“On a native population of six million people that would be creditable, but it is somewhat disappointing given the high level of ticket sales. However, the Caribbean can still hold its head high in this area. The ticket sales of £16 million are the highest ever recorded for any Cricket World Cup or ICC event, and that is a record we can be proud of.”

Dehring added that ticket revenues of South Africa in 2003 and England in 1999 had been about £5 million and £11 million respectively. “When you consider the size and value of these markets compared with the West Indies, it makes what is already a respectable performance even more creditable,” he said.

CHARLIE SAYS: The event would have been better if the ICC had been more in tune and if the final in Barbados had not been turned into a fiasco by ICC errors. It was not the West Indies fault that Australia were so strong and that three key nations – England, India and Pakistan – were so weak. A few hotels ramped up their prices, sold few rooms and paid the price for greed, which was nice to see.

Posted by Charlie Randall
06/07/2007 20:49:51
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