Ambergris Caye Directory
Meeting FIFA Standards
The Belize national football team has passed on to the second qualifying round for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, by a win and a draw against St. Kitts/Nevis. After winning the first home game 3-1 over St. Kitts in Guatemala City on February 6, the national team drew 1-1 with the St. Kitts eleven at the Warner Park in St. Kitts on Wednesday night, March 26.
Thus Belize had four points and St. Kitts only one point, which means Belize, will be taking on football powerhouse Mexico,(ranked among the top ten teams in the world), in the second round in June. Belize now has over two months, about 10 weeks to prepare one of its stadiums to FIFA standards to be able to host the home game in Belize. But is this really possible?
On last week’s Reef Radio’s Morning Show, hosts David Marin and Eiden Salazar were asking what it would take for Belize or San Pedro’s football stadium to meet FIFA’s standard, and Ambergris Today took the initiative to search about it and found out the following.
In an article by The Reporter Newspaper issued on Friday, January 25 entitled “Belize cry foul!” mentioned that as November 8, 2007 Paul Martin, the reputable contractor who had readied the M.C.C. pitch (field) last July, submitted to the Sports Council an estimate of $17,732Bze for the work that would be required to restore the pitch at Marion Jones Stadium to FIFA standards.
That included $3,784 to grade the field to new levels, removing the loose stones and another $5,361 would cover applying bagasse/filter pressed mud to mix in with the existing soil, grading and leveling. Grass seed with rotatiling and application of fertilizer would cost another $8587.
Also, checking on FIFA’s stadium guidelines, it stated that FIFA carries out inspections to make sure that the stadium meets its standards and requirements to play any international football game and that the stadium must have the following: a Pitch Area, a Stadium Building, a Stadium Perimeter, a Stadium Plan, a Stadium Screen, Stands and Tribune d’Honneur.
(i) The Pitch Area – the field shall be the pitch on which the match takes place as defined in FIFA’s Law of Game, which specifies a larger field of play for international matches which include; Total area Length Minimum 100m (110yds) Maximum 110m (120Yds) Width Minimum 64m (70yds) Maximum 75m(80yds) and Playing area of 105 x 68 m with layout grass.
(ii) Stadium Building – Must include 2-4 dressing rooms with toilets, showers and modern furniture for the teams and direct, covered access to the pitch. One room for the team technician, one room for the kit manager, two rooms for match officials and six offices exclusively for FIFA fully equipped among others rooms.
(iii) Stadium Perimeter – shall contain enough space to allow security requirement to be implemented as well as for the competition and stadium operation, the broadcast compound, parking access, protocol, storage, entertainment, hospitability, selling of food & beverages and other products and all activities of FIFA.
(iv) Stadium Plans – should include no limited to utilities (power light, electrical lines, hot & cold water, gas, heating, cooling air condition etc) cable and phone line. Floodlights ensuring adequate lighting for television purposes, a loud speaker system (inside & outside) among other specifications and modifications which should be submitted by 10 Jan, 2008, 10 Jan 2009 or 10 Jan 2010.
(v) Stadium Screen – One or several monitors in the stadium on which moving images are displayed to the persons granted the right access to the stadium.
(vi) Stadium Stands – The stadium shall provide seats for every spectator implementing the requisite safety standards, numbered seats with a backrest at least 30cm high.
(vii) Tribune d’Honneur – and the work position for the media must be under cover. The first row for spectators shall, in principle, be 2.5m above pitch level. (500 people minimum capacity).
FIFA also requires the stadium capacity for the round of 16 and quarter finals (excluding media and VIPs) minimum 40,000, opening match, Semifinals (excluding media and VIPs) minimum 60,000 and total Capacity of 65,000.
Meeting FIFA’s standard by June of this year for Belize to play the math against Mexico will be impossible, so we can kiss that dream good bye and we will have to witness the home game probably in Guatemala like Belize’s last game against St. Kitts and Nevis.
Belize could probably meet FIFA’s standards in the near future since it is understood that the F.F.B. (Football Federation of Belize) receives a subvention of over $250,000US annually from FIFA for football development. This money could be used to keep Belize’s players in training, when they are not playing with their local teams, so that they become accustomed to playing together and better their game. And part of that money could be saved to make our stadium fit to FIFA’s standards and requirements.
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