Isidoro Beaton: Belizeís 2nd World Class Stadium
From the 800 lux lights, to the top of the line VIP headquarters, and to the FIFA 2 star synthetic turf, the striking new features of the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan certainly make it a site to behold. In 2014, the facility was closed down so that works can be done in giving it a 3.5 million dollar facelift. Now after all the long wait, the Isidoro Beaton stadium was finally opened at an officially inauguration ceremony that was held earlier today. Key note speakers included, the Mayor of Belmopan, the Minister of State with responsibility to sports and the General Manager of the Belize infrastructure Limited, who headed the projects.
Khalid Belisle, Mayor, City of Belmopan
"It would have to have been a couple of years ago now that the seeds of the idea of using some portion of the proceeds of the Petrocaribe program to spark a rejuvenation of sports in Belize would have taken root. Now as they say, success have many fathers, while failure is an orphan and so I'm sure there are many who would stake claim to at least some of the credit for what we see before us this afternoon. I speak for the city when I say that whomever it may be that deserves the kudos. The City of Belmopan is now and will continue to be immeasurably grateful of the display of vision and the determination to have seen us to this momentous occasion."
Hon. Elodio Aragon
"This stadium is no doubt an inspiration to all our young people across this country. It is an inspiration for all those sporting fans who look towards sports as a means of improving themselves both physically and within their respective fields especially football. We all know football in this country is the number one sports and having such facilities like this that will promote sporting activities especially the football when it comes to making our football players begin to look towards the bigger picture of representation across this country and internationally and regionally. I think it goes a long way."
Christy Mastry - General Manager, BIL
"The key aspects of the project of the new Isidoro Beaton, well the renovated Isidoro Beaton Stadium is primarily the synthetic turf. What we are looking at is a product one of 9 lines or suppliers in the world of FIFA qualifying turf and that is the product of Greenfields and what we've laid today is the FIFA 2 star qualifying synthetic turf pitch with the underlying bed liner for all drainage - all of the gravel, so that the below grade does not get wet and in any way jeopardies the gradation of the curb of the pitch that needs to happen for the drainage to occur properly. Along with that we have the lighting which is the floor post lighting that we've done and that is 800lups at its highest lighting levels. With that we have the additional bleachers that we've added to the site so that we have approximately seating admission for 1200. We have the VIP area. WE have the media viewing area and two media platforms on either end of the bleachers block. We have locker facilities for two different teams and of course a center area for the referees isolated from the actual players themselves. So proper standard for any kind of qualifying competition and then we have of course the general admission restroom facilities - handicap facilities as well for male/female, concessions stands and the gating and then we have parking area internal to the field itself for the VIP and the player drop-off."
Hon. John Saldivar
"I am very excited to see the match tonight, to see how our guys performed on this new synthetic material. We are going to have to get used to it now, because this is the home of the Bandits forever."
"You think this field will increase the amount of international friendly we have in Belize?"
Hon. John Saldivar
"I am sure that it will and certainly it is my hope, but more importantly see this as a way of boosting the moral of our players here in Belize. I believe that this type of facility is a boosts for our players to be able to play on such a facility is encouraging and I am more hopeful of what it will do for sports in Belize in terms of making our football players more interested in participating since they have such a world class facility to play on."
While the upgrade to the Isidoro is being welcomed by most football enthusiasts, what is the Football Federations take on it? Does this mean lost of revenue for them since there is another competing facility to host international football matches? Here is what President of FFB Ruperto Vicente told us about on this matter.
Ruperto Vicente, President - FFB
"It has nothing to do with revenues. I believe it's an enhancement to our football and it's also an asset to the Football Federation of Belize. And I say this because now we have 2 FIFA certified stadiums in Belmopan and now we can host either the CONCACAF or UNCAF tournaments whether it be U15, U17, U20 tournaments - we can now host those tournaments because we now have two stadiums here in the City of Belmopan."
So while the official inauguration of the stadium took place this afternoon, the official christening of the pitch takes place tonight with a match between the Belmopan Bandits and the El Progresso, from Honduras.
The Stadium currently holds a capacity of 12 hundred people. But that is just the beginning. There are plans to expand its capacity by adding more bleachers to the east of the football pitch.