Additional seating at Brian Lara Cricket Academy for World T20


Roughly eight weeks away from the start of the much-anticipated 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 Men’s World Cup on June 1, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Trinidad leg of the tournament confirmed the expansion of the seating capacity at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) in Trinidad.

In a media conference at the Queen’s Park Oval in St. Clair on Tuesday, the LOC gave updates on the preparations ahead of the June 1-29 tournament, which is being co-hosted by the Caribbean and the US.

The BLCA venue in Tarouba will host five matches in the tourney, inclusive of four group matches and a semi-final.

Haresh Ragoonath, venue and facilities manager for the T20 World Cup, spoke on the expansion work at BLCA and he said the refurbishments should be wrapped up within the next three weeks.

“The needs for the tournament are so great, when the facility was built it was not designed for T20 cricket as it is modernised so much right now.” Ragoonath told Newsday. “The commercial aspect of cricket has grown so much.”

Ragoonath said adjustments are being made at the North media tower at the venue, with the installation of eastern and western wings set to see the venue comfortably accommodating over 120 media personnel.

“It’s about 95 per cent completed already. It should be completed in the next 10 to 12 days in time for the tournament.”

Perhaps, more importantly, to add to the atmosphere and ambience in the stadium, Ragoonath said there will be more seating to accommodate spectators.

“There were a couple of areas we identified that had no seats so we are going to increase the seating capacity of the stadium – all the sections. “This has already started and will be completed in the next 20 days as well. The additional capacity will be increasing by about 2,400.”

Ragoonath said the BLCA will be able to accommodate 18,000 spectators comfortably. BLCA will host its first game of the tournament on June 12, when co-hosts and two-time T20 World Cup winners West Indies face New Zealand in an intriguing group C clash.

Afghanistan will play Papua New Guinea (PNG) in another group C match on June 13, with the ‘Black Caps’ then battling newcomers Uganda on June 14. The BLCA will host its final group game on June 17, before hosting the semi-final.

The venue and facilities manager assured the venue’s structure and playing surface will be in pristine condition for the tournament.

He said there will also be the addition of a medical room and an anti-doping room, while he says the BLCA will be “Wi-Fi-capable” for all spectators and media personnel as the venue hits the technological standards required for the mega tournament.

Damon Leon, head of PR and communications for the T20 World Cup, confirmed party stand tickets around the region will be available from mid-April.

The TT leg of the T20 World Cup trophy tour is then expected to follow from May 17-19, and ten teams will arrive in Trinidad from May 23 for warm-up matches.

The 10 teams scheduled to feature in Trinidad for World Cup warm-up matches are Australia, Afghanistan, England, Namibia, New Zealand, Oman, PNG, Scotland, West Indies and Uganda.

Leon said the LOC has something special in store for cricket fans in the coming weeks and he said TT has the chance to showcase its culture and charm to the world as all the eyes will be on the region come June.

“The other Caribbean countries are going all out and we encourage TT to do the same as well- TT has a unique opportunity.”

There will also be various “fan parks” across the region for supporters who are unable to attend matches, but the logistics of these arrangements are still to be finalised. Officials from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the Sport Company of TT (SporTT), the Office of the Prime Minister and the Finance, National Security, Tourism and Works and Transport ministries all form part of the LOC. (Newsday)


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