Gonsalves: Renowned double-decker stand to be dismantled

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The dismantling and reconstruction of the famed West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) double-decker stand at the Antigua Recreation Ground (ARG) could be completed by September of next  year barring unforeseen delays.
This is according to President of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Everton “Batow” Gonsalves, who said this week that work is ongoing as they seek to, piece by piece, take the stand apart.
“We are slowly dismantling it and then the grand phase of dismantling will come in the off season and just before carnival. They are looking at two windows, one just before carnival or one just after carnival and that is why we are getting ready and getting up to speed the auxiliary ground so that when we attempt that mammoth exercise that we’d be able to pull it off, get double-decker down and up because we are not totally getting rid of double-decker,” he said. 
Presently, the stand has been deemed prohibited for use by the general public during functions held at the facility. The football association has also been cautioned from utilising the stand during FIFA sanctioned matches owing to fire hazard concerns.
The ARG is currently being used to host a number of Independence-related activities but Gonsalves is hoping that the Premier Division competition could resume on Saturday with the speedy removal of the Independence stage.
“We’ve taken a break because of the Independence festivities and over the next two days I think there will be Independence activities there and so we are working with the Festivals Commission and they have assured us that they will commit minimal damage to the surface and that they will exit on time so that we can get our preparations up to speed again and getting ready for next weekend’s second round of matches,” he said.
The Premier Division competition opened last Saturday with a double-header and continued on Sunday.

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