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LASTING LEGACY?: Chances gone abegging


LASTING LEGACY?: Chances gone abegging

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As the countdown continues to the start of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, the WEEKEND NATION continues the weekly series Lasting Legacy? Eight Years After World Cup 2007.

NATION Associate Editor Haydn Gill is examinimng the impact the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean has had on the region.

The series features insights from key stakeholders involved in the 2007 World Cup.

THE JURY is still out on whether the Caribbean has reaped big benefits from hosting Cricket World Cup 2007.

One man who was charged with a critical responsibility in staging the event is in no doubt that the region missed out on the potential opportunities that were available.

Rawle Brancker, a Barbadian businessman, was appointed chairman of ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 – a wholly owned subsidiary of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) – in July 2003.

A little over two years later and 18 months before the start of the tournament, he quit in September 2005, citing differences with managing director and chief executive officer Chris Dehring.

Eight years after the World Cup, Brancker feels the region did not capitalise to the extent it was envisaged.

“I thought then and I still think now that it was a tremendous opportunity for the Caribbean not to lose but I must say that in a lot of ways we did not benefit from the opportunities that were evident in the World Cup,” he told the WEEKEND NATION.

“One of the basic reasons for this is that the WICB, in its wisdom or otherwise, chose not to select a board to run the World Cup whereas there was a managing director appointed two years before that time.

“When the board of directors was appointed, two years of planning had already gone in and a number of vital issues which really should have had the benefit of the board’s input . . . those opportunities were just lost. As a result, I think the benefits to have been derived from the World Cup were relatively minimised.”

One of Brancker’s concerns was that the World Cup lacked a Caribbean flavour largely due to restrictions placed on spectators.

Among the CWC stipulations was that bands and musical instruments could only be taken into the grounds with written permission from local organising committees.

Stressing that other countries around the world were now attempting to duplicate Caribbean-like atmospheres at their venues, Brancker said there was something unique about the West Indian brand.

“From South Africa to New Zealand, there are bands, music and horns that add to the enjoyment. That is our brand. The world has sought to capture it. We just lost an opportunity by under-negotiating,” he argued.

“If the board were in place, there is no way, I certainly, as the board’s leader, would have agreed with the ICC or anybody else that no music, horns and drums would have been allowed. That is an integral part of our cricket culture. We can’t negotiate that out.”

Speaking in an earlier interview, CWC 2007 boss Chris Dehring, in identifying communications as one of the areas organisers could have done better, said musical instruments were never a no-no for the event.

“We were challenged with communications across the region. We didn’t pay enough focus in thinking that was going to be a problem. I still get people asking me why we banned musical instruments in 2007. That never happened. There was no ban on musical instruments. It boggles my mind how people still think that we did that,” Dehring said.

In spite of his criticism, Brancker, a former Barbados cricketer who toured England in 1966 with the West Indies team but did not play an international match, reckoned the region was better off for hosting the World Cup.

Among the positives he identified were the development of new state-of-the-art stadiums across the Caribbean and the transfer of knowledge to West Indians. As an example, he made mention of former Barbados and West Indies opening batsman Adrian Griffith, one of three cricket operations managers for the event and who has landed a job as the ICC’s umpires and referees administration manager.

“I am sure we are [better off]. Mentally, it helps us to think better of ourselves, to think that we too can do what the others can,” Brancker said.

“We’ve been able to show that we are no less capable than anybody else. Had we done a few things right up front, I think we would have had a marvellous World Cup.”

While some observers feel the region spent too much in the development of grounds across the Caribbean, Brancker countered by saying time always made an investment in real estate worthwhile. The new venues, he added, would serve the cricketers well but should also be converted to accommodate other sports.

The businessman was, however, concerned that the new stadiums had been underutilised since the staging of the World Cup.

“It’s probably a lack of a combination of money and will. We need a collaborative marketing approach, to go out there and pull activity to the stadia. I don’t think it is beyond us,” he said.

“Had we been exposed to the full procedures and opportunities, I think by now we would have had those stadia working for us in a much better way than they are.

“Sometimes, we like to take the long road. We’ve certainly taken the long road in this case. We’ll eventually get there but it will take us more time than we should.”

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• Bands and musical instruments were permitted only with written permission from the appropriate local organising committee.

• Cooler boxes were permitted provided they were not larger than 12 in. x 12 in. x 12 in. They must have been soft and collapsible.

• Only collapsible personal umbrellas were allowed into the grounds. Large umbrellas (e.g. golf, beach) were not permitted.

• Banners and flags were permitted only to a maximum size of 5 ft. x 3 ft provided that in the opinion of ICC CWC 2007 they were not vulgar, political, racial, discriminatory, sexual in nature or displayed advertising which was in conflict with the rights on partners/sponsors.

•  Aerosol cans were not permitted other than those containing deodorant, prescription medication or insect repellent.