Caribbean fears for World Cup

One year away and the organisers admit there will not be enough places for supporters to stay

This time next year, sides from the leading countries will start gathering to play the ninth Cricket World Cup in nine separate island countries of the Caribbean. It is a logistical and political nightmare which makes the football and rugby union equivalents look like walks in the park, and involves the construction or refurbishment of 12 new venues, the transporting of thousands of supporters, teams and officials many hundreds of miles between islands, and the provision of places for them to stay.

There are already abundant stories of venues being behind schedule, of overbooked hotels, of the potential for travel chaos. Chris Dehring, the chief executive of the organising committee, sounded accustomed to such observations. "I think there is a fair level of scepticism and with a fair degree of justification over the years of how we go about things in the Caribbean," he said in Jamaica. "I can understand the scepticism if you look at it in totality - how can they do 12 stadiums at once?

"As far as accommodation goes we've always felt that demand will outstrip supply. Therefore what we've had to do is make sure we can accommodate a reasonable amount of people to satisfy international supporters and locals. We've booked a core of rooms but I'm not going to say it can ever satisfy demand, because it can't."

If Dehring's candour was slightly disarming it was also an objective view that should serve the organisers well in the fraught year ahead. He was in on the World Cup from the start, leading the bid team that persuaded the International Cricket Council that the West Indies could stage the event. "I get the impression that the outside world thinks the Caribbean may be too relaxed," Dehring said. "But I enjoy that reaction because the reality is that that's what people enjoy about life in the Caribbean.

"It's going to be a fantastic World Cup; you may stand in line a little longer but you're going to have the best time in that line that you've had in your life, so the fact you have to wait a little longer won't matter much. That is what the experience is, it's what we sell and you buy."

Recent ructions between the West Indies board and mutinous players has done nothing to engender confidence, though. The continued decline of the team has sapped it further. The feeling of disorganisation is never far away. "This leads to some of the lack of credibility when people talk of construction deadlines or whatever because of the general feeling about how cricket is administered here," said Dehring. "But hopefully, one of the legacies will be that if we run this thing properly, the West Indies board will get the kudos they deserve."

With the impressive Dehring steering the ship there is reason to believe it will come into harbour. From the outside, the main difficulty is the fact that the event is being held in nine different countries. Dehring said that helped. "You virtually have an entire cabinet in each country focusing on the event. And the entire structure of the event mitigates the risk, you don't have one operation trying to build 12 stadiums, you have one country trying to build one. I hear stories about how many are behind schedule. Guyana was in the papers the other day. That's ahead of schedule according to the architects' plans, but nobody bothered to check with me."

The toughest nut to crack, as he put it, will be accom-modation. But even that should not be beyond them. "We're used to tourists and in absolute numbers it won't be something we're not used to. Jamaica entertains 100,000 visitors a month, and while Trinidad has only 2,000 hotel rooms, it hosts over 40,000 visitors for carnival. That is a statistical fact. Guyana is the biggest challenge, but the prime minister has given an undertaking on hotels."

The ICC, with their credibility at stake, have experts checking on grounds. All playing surfaces have to be finished by July. "Every-thing that can be done is being done," said Brendan McClements, the ICC's general manager of corporate affairs. "We're in constant contact, and while they've got some work to do there's nothing we see that stops us believing they'll be able to deliver."

The tournament website clock revealed yesterday that there were 400 days to go to the opening ceremony. It seemed to be ticking very quickly.

Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy