(SNO) – The ongoing discussion about facilities in Saint Lucia is set to be thrown into high relief over the next few weeks.
Saint Lucia’s men’s national football team is riding high after beating Antigua and Barbuda 3-0 in the opening round of the Concacaf Nations League, but with a tough fixture looming in the second round, the Pitons are in danger of crashing down to earth.
On October 13, Saint Lucia is set to take on Haiti, in what has been advertised as a home game. The Saint Lucia Football Assocition Inc. has been circulating a flyer advertising the game for 8 p.m. at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG).
DSCG, after all, is one of just two FIFA-approved and certified international facility in Saint Lucia. The other such venue, the George Odlum Stadium, has been in use as a hospital since September 2009, and the stands are virtually unusable.
The problem here is that the ICC Women’s World T20 is set to be staged in Saint Lucia from November 10. Naturally, DSCG will be used for that competition. And with the ICC having locked off all outside access, the Saint Lucia men’s team is homeless.
Speculation now is that the SLFA may need to start ramping up its publicity machinery in Fort de France, as the “home” game may have to be played at one of the stadia on the neighbouring French overseas department of Martinique.
This is actually not the first time that Saint Lucia has been in such a bind. Back in 2015, Saint Lucia played both its 2018 World Cup qualifying “home” and away games against Antigua and Barbuda in St. John’s.
In order to get FIFA certification, a venue must meet certain standards in terms of seating, surface, safety, security, accessibility, lighting and more.
The Government of Saint Lucia has touted the imminent construction of at least two new FIFA-certified facilities, though no timeline has been furnished. Likewise, there has been no official word as to when the George Odlum Stadium will be vacated and made available for international football.