Rodney defends neutral venue decision amidst public criticism from one club

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The association announced recently that the final, along with the third and fourth place matches, will be played at the ICC certified venue on March 26 and 27 (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney, has defended the body’s decision to schedule the decisive fixtures of this year’s Super 40 competition at the Cricket West Indies (CWI) owned Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG).

The association announced recently that the final, along with the third and fourth place matches, will be played at the ICC certified venue on March 26 and 27.

However, there has been public objection from at least one club, to which Rodney said the association’s decision will stand.

“We’re running a tournament and we have decisions to make. We have a team of 11 people and people who are very reasonable and respected in the community, and so that’s the decision we took; we are taking the games to CCG and hope that it turns out very well. We want to ask the people to come out and support their clubs, walk with your tents to spread out on the west side, and let’s have a good time,” he said.

Rodney reminded that the association reserves the right to decide where matches are played.

“Anytime you look at the bottom of an ABCA schedule, it says all venues are liable to be changed by the ABCA and we made a decision that this year; we are taking the third and fourth match to the CCG and the final also to the CCG,” he said.

“Last year, we took a decision that we were going to play it at the stadium [Sir Vivian Richards Stadium] but unfortunately something developed at the stadium and the management came back and said that it couldn’t happen. We took it to Bethesda and the same people who felt that we shouldn’t take it to the stadium turned around and said we made a mistake and should have taken it to the stadium, so let’s put it this way, you are not going to be able to please everybody,” the cricket boss added. 

President of the PIC Liberta Sports Club and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin, had expressed his disappointment over the decision, adding that he had asked for the final to be played in Liberta.

“I believe that the team that places higher [going into the final] should host the final. We need to force the teams to do better in terms of the facilities and get things in place. We have spent over $50,000 out at Liberta and I proposed that they play the final here because I want to make some money for the club and that is my reason, so if people think that I am selfish then so be it. I am thinking about bringing the games here and the club makes some money because we help the other clubs, too; just the other day we gave Empire a cover so it is not as if all the money stays in Liberta,” he said.

Matches will start at 11am on both days and carries an entrance fee of $10.

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