MCC pitch in appalling condition after concert

Posted By: Marty

MCC pitch in appalling condition after concert - 12/18/12 02:40 PM

President of the Football Federation of Belize Mr. Ruperto Vicente wrote a letter last week to Chairman of the National Sports to share his disapproval of hosting the Digicell Tenth Anniversary concert with Bennie man and other Caribbean artist on the pitch of the MCC grounds. Despite his concerns though, the event was carried out as planned and now football supporters are not happy with the condition of the grounds.  Plusnews spoke with Vicente who told us about his concern. 

I need to make it clear that our concerns have to do with of going against the use of the MCC grounds for any other activities or for any concert.  Our concern is about the use of the pitch of the MCC grounds for concerts and other activities that can damage the surface of pitch on which our players play football.  We must understand that the pitch at the MCC grounds is [good pitch] for our young players, and using it for any [other activity] is endangering the welfare of our young players.  

Yaya Marin took up the cause and hours before the concert on Friday night, she began a one-woman 24HR protest against the concert. Some minutes later, she was joined by FFB president, Ruperto Vicente. Ruperto told us about the condition of the field before and after the event. 

Even though the pitch was not in the best of condition, but it was a pitch that could have been used by young players to play football.  At the state of which it is now, it wall be difficult for our players to get to play on it, because the surface has been damaged, as the grass is no longer there.  There is large holes on the pitch.  In fact on Friday there were so many tents placed on that pitch, and pegs driven  into the ground, creating holes on the pitch that can be dangerous to our players when they are playing football,  We need to get this cleared.  The state at which the pitch was, and where it is now, it is out of control.  It is outrageous. It's in a terrible condition.

And while only two rallied for the concert to be cancelled, Vicente says that his stance on the matter remains the same and that the Sports Council or promoter needs to take responsibility. 


I hope that the National Sports Council will take on the responsibility, or the people who have the contract on the pitch would take on the responsibility now of repairing that pitch for our young players.  Because of it I cannot put any dollar value to it now, but it will cost some dollars to get it back to where it was, and even better. My next step from here is to seek a dialogue with the National Sports Council, and the Minister of Sports, to see how best we can protect the pitch at the MCC grounds. And we protect it by not allowing activities, such as the concert that was held last weekend to be held on it, or any other [activity] that's going to damage it.  There are other areas at the MCC ground that can be used for any such activities, it doesn't have to be on the pitch. We do not want it on the pitch, and that's the kind of conversation, dialogue, and exchange that I am going to have with the council and the Minister of Sports. 

Vicente told us that this is the second time that an event of this sort has been held on the pitch at the MCC grounds despite the FFB’s disapproval.


Posted By: Marty

Re: MCC pitch in appalling condition after concert - 12/20/12 01:59 PM

Sports Minister Speaks On Mess At MCC

On Monday, 7News told you about Yaya Marin-Coleman's 24-hour, 2-person protest for against the use of the MCC Grounds for the big DIGICELL 10th Anniversary concert. Well, with the public interest and pressure it has been generating, today, Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports Herman Longsworth has decided to state the clear position of his ministry on this issue.

As we told you, the Football Federation of Belize has loudly protested the use of the MCC Grounds for anything other than sports because these other functions cause damage to the integrity of the facility.

Their biggest complaint is that there are signs of tire tracks on the field where the people in charge of those public functions drive unto the football pitch to transport equipment.

Well, Longsworth addressed the media this evening, and he told us that there will be more strict measures put in place to protect the facility.

But first, he put the need for the use of the facility for public functions into context by drawing comparison to the public terror incident which unfolded at the BTL Park Fest, the next day after the Digicell Concert at the MCC.

Here's how he explained it:

Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of State/Youth and Sports
"The day after, I believe it was, there was an event across the street, where gunshots were heard, and people had to be running away, from that area. This is why we need to have a secure place, where we can secure our people for functions like these. We must; there is no place else in Belize City that we use. Until we can find somewhere else, we must strike that balance. We must allow people to use that place. Until such time as those responsible for culture and social services can find a proper venue for safe activities other than sports to happen, we have a responsibility. We have a moral responsibility to ensure that we assist. And that's what we've been trying to do; that is exactly what we've been trying to do. It is unfortunate that those who have a passion for sports would be so selfish as not to see that there is a life outside of sports, and that there are other things in this country that our people get involved in, especially our youth. Again, my responsibility is not only for sports; it also for the development of our youths. And where sports are concerned, I don't see my responsibility as to further sports, but rather to develop our society through sports. And so, we must find ways of making everything interact, and working with each other. Now, the National Sports Council has come up with a policy, where they will rent the facility to promoters and organizers of events, other than sporting events, providing that those events do not coincide with sporting events. Sporting events will take priority every time, over any other event. They've also instituted a policy where these organizers of these events are required to make a deposit outside of the rental fees with the National Sports Council. That deposit is to be used to repair the field, if the field is damage, also other areas of the facility, where it is deemed to be damaged. No vehicles are allowed on the field anymore. Regardless of what is to be done, they must manually move their equipment unto the field. I have been to the field, and I invite you to go back to the MCC. Not a single thing has been done to the field, since this event. I invite you to go back and look at the field. The field is very much what it would look like after a very competitive football match played in rain."

Longsworth also said that in the near future, there will be plans put in place to try to put a protective surface over the pitch for these public functions.

And while we had access to Longsworth, we asked him about the Belize Cycling Association.

As we've reported numerous times, there is a rift in the association because of the disagreement between the former BCA president, Emil Moreno, and president aspirant, Dion Leslie.

Today was supposed to be the day where an interim executive committee chaired by the National Sports Council was to be installed to hold over until representatives of the regional cycling bodies arrive to oversee elections.

Longsworth explained that one of the parties involved tried to quote, 'derail to process':

Hon. Herman Longsworth
"We've proposed to institute an interim committee. We invited the entities that had shown interest in running for elections for the executive, to have 2 seats on that committee. They were to have equal participation the committee, and the National Sports Council will chair the committee. I was hoping to do it today. It failed because one party, for whatever reason, chose to try to derail the process. Those parties were invited here today, for us to formally form the committee. One group came, as they were invited to come, and they were several other people who came. I have no idea why they came. I invited the people who initially invited to the meeting to come into the room, and I told the others that they were not allowed into the meeting, and that if they wanted to discuss cycling with me, I had no problem. They could discuss cycling with me when I was through with the meeting. They could sit with me, and discuss cycling because I have an open-door policy. Anybody can come here, sit, and discuss with me. The second party chose not. They said, 'Well, we don't have representation. We are not ready.' Well, if you are not ready, you were told in advance. If you are not ready, then it makes no sense to come to the meeting. We won't have a meeting, so we will proceed. I will ask - I have asked - and I am hoping they will agree, the National Olympic Committee to now form a part of that committee by taking up those seats, which that one party chose not to take up. But, we will move with cycling."

Daniel Ortiz
"So, that interim committee is now effected."

Hon. Herman Longsworth
"It is not yet effected because I need the National Olympic Committee has not said whether or not they will participate. If they don't want to participate, I will ask independent Belizeans, who are serious about sports, to form a part of that committee."

Daniel Ortiz
"I was told that the Sagitun Banana Classic was forced to cancel due to this -"

Hon. Herman Longsworth
"Let's also clear the air there. What was recommended to the promoters - because we can't tell the promoters what to do - what we told them that if the race is to be sanctioned by this interim committee, and if the officials, who handle races, are to officiate that race, it would need to be postponed. We recommended that they postpone it to the middle of January. That would give enough time to the people who officiate these races, to plan properly, and to ensure that everything is in place for the race. The promoters opted not to have the race, but they've kept it on the calendar for the upcoming calendar year."

As noted in the interview, the interim committee is expected to be in place to oversee the next big race on the calendar, which is the 23rd Edition of Krem New Year's Day Cycling Classic.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: MCC pitch in appalling condition after concert - 01/24/13 03:27 PM

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports today announced that effective immediately, the MCC Grounds will not be used for anything other than sports. According to a press release dated January fifteenth but emailed to the media this morning, the decision to reserve the stadium’s use for only sporting activities was taken based on feedback from the community after consultation with Cabinet. The official release says that government will be identifying funds to upgrade the facility strictly for sporting events and as such believes that, to be maintained for this purpose, use of the facility is to be restricted only to such events.
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