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Stadium double-booked again

Justin Marville

Stadium double-booked again

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SCHEDULING WOES with the National Stadium seem to be a regular fixture for the Barbados Cup.
For the third successive year, conflicting events have been booked at the Waterford venue for the same day as the regional youth tournament’s opening ceremony, even after the Barbados Cup’s organisers financially secured use of the Stadium four months in advance.
Tournament director George Las Caris made the situation public ahead of Sunday’s opening ceremony after learning of the latest scheduling conflict from National Stadium manager Colin Spencer yesterday.
“We wrote on October 1 to the manager of the National Stadium and by October 14 we received a response from him in the affirmative, giving us permission to use the Stadium and it outlined the terms and conditions,” Las Caris disclosed.
“We sent in our letter of acceptance along with our cheque and provided everything that was required of us. [But] he then called me today [yesterday] and said that he saw in the Press that I was using the Stadium on Sunday, but that he noted there were other events on that same day. Since we have paid, and paid since last year, I think it simply may be a mistake and that it could be something that is easily corrected.”
The Barbados Cup’s opening ceremony was originally slated for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., however the Amateur Athletic Association of Barbados are supposed to be staging its trials for the CARIFTA team from 3 p.m.
Knockout matches in the Barbados Football Association’s competition have also been booked later that evening, creating a certain scheduling conflict.
This follows a similar incident last year where the opening Caribbean Qualifying Zone match of the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup between Barbados and Anguilla was also booked for the same day as the opening ceremony of the Barbados Cup.
That situation was eventually resolved after the intervention of National Sports Council Director Erskine King, as the Gold Cup match followed the staging of the Barbados Cup.
“We are always shocked when in the week leading up to the Barbados Cup we find out that others have been given permission to use the Stadium at the same time,” said Las Caris. “It always seems to be coincidental, so it’s just our luck.
“If we can get a donor to give us some land where we know no one else would be able to book, we would use that, but since the Stadium is Government property which is open to all Barbadian organisers, and we are one of them, we probably will ask again to use the Stadium.”
Spencer gave no comment on the issue, while King said he was unaware of the situation when contacted yesterday by NATIONSPORT.
“I would think that if there seems to be some problem or some mix-up that Mr Las Caris would call me,” King reasoned.
A record 70 teams are slated to participate in the 24th edition of the Barbados Cup, which includes 11 Trinidadian teams and St Kitts’ national Under-15 squad. The tournament is scheduled to run for five days at seven venues, featuring 1 260 players in 125 games.