Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Stadium lights now ready to be installed – Grange

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2024 | 12:13 AMOrane Buchanan - Staff Reporter

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange.

MINISTER OF Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has confirmed that the new lights for the National Stadium have arrived on the island.

The issue of lighting at the stadium has been a huge discussion point and was amplified after the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) was forced to shift its June 6 World Cup qualification fixture between the Reggae Boyz and the Dominican Republic from 6:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner Minister Grange said the installation process will commence tomorrow.

“This is major news as the lights were only acceptable for certain sporting disciplines. There was an issue with Concacaf in that the lighting wasn’t adequate as they (Concacaf) require 1000 lumens. The lights were held up in customs and have finally arrived, as such we will be installing come Monday,” she said.

Grange further explained that the improvement to the lights will kick start the long-awaited upgrade of the National Stadium, now slated to begin in 2025.

“We will now have adequate lighting and will have more than the minimum required. It’s an improvement of the current facility and the official upgrading of the stadium will commence once we break ground come next year. This upgrade will be across three phases and this will see vast improvements in a state-of-the-art media centre, anti-doping facilities and significant improvements to what now exists,” said Grange.

Dennis Chung, general secretary of the JFF, said he welcomed the news because moving the time for the Reggae Boyz’s fixture against the Dominican Republic was a big financial blow.

“This is very good as we had to change our World Cup qualifier from 6:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. We still had a good crowd and we estimated that the thrust we had made in the market, we would have had at least 75 per cent more. It was a huge revenue loss for us and a lot of Jamaicans didn’t get to see the match due to work,” said Chung.

The issue with customs was something that needed the intervention of the ministry and Chung has lauded her for noting the urgency of the situation.

“It also means that Jamaica will move from this embarrassing situation. We are the leading sports nation in the region and we weren’t able to host international games at night. The move by the minister to get this sorted out is really commendable. This also means that on September 6th, we can now host our game at night,” said Chung.