Bahamas Building $2.5 million World Class Beach Soccer Stadium
Construction commences as excitement for World Cup builds
The Bahamas will soon be home to the only “world class” beach soccer facility in the region as preparations for the highly anticipated 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup ramp up.
Members of the Local Organization Committee (LOC) unveiled the plans for the $2.5 million stadium yesterday during a press conference. The tournament will be staged at the Malcom Park Beach Soccer Facility at the foot of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge from April 27 to May 7.
“Obviously our facility, which was on this site did not have enough capacity and was not ready for that type of event,” said Bruce LaFleur, a member of the LOC and the stadium’s architect. “In conjunction with FIFA and the government, we are going to put a $2.5 million stadium. It’s going to house 3,097 people… It will be one of the first beach soccer facilities in the Caribbean at this level.”
Construction on the facility, which will be outfitted with 12 VIP booths, a locker room, medical room, doping room and control room, began earlier this month and is expected to conclude by the end of January.
LaFleur said the tournament presents The Bahamas with a priceless opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of the country to the hundreds of visitors that expected on convene here once play begins.
“It’s [the] World Cup, people are coming here,” he noted. “It’s no different than the Olympics or the World Cup on grass. People from all over the world want to be a part of it. So from a touristic standpoint, it’s definitely an opportunity for us to push our brand and things that are Bahamian culturally.”
Fred Lunn, who is also a member of the LOC, also commented on the uniqueness of the stadium.
“In terms of the VIP area, that will be on the second floor, there are individual VIP booths and that’s something that I haven’t seen at any stadium that I’ve been too. And I’ve been to events in many different countries.
“... And I’m sure the design of this stadium will be copied or duplicated in other parts of the region. I’ve already got a request from Trinidad to look at a similar stadium as what was designed for us… It’s the first in the region. There’s one other in El Salvador but it really doesn’t compare with what we’re doing here.
“They are all very excited about it,” he added referring to other Caribbean nations. “It is our own facility in our region.”
While construction has started on the main stadium, Lunn said the LOC is also preparing the official training facility, which will be at Arawak Cay.
Explaining why Arawak Cay was chosen to be the site of the training facility, Lunn said it will add to the Bahamian flare.
“We want this World Cup to be a Bahamian World Cup and so there was discussion as to where to put the training facility with FIFA, LOC and the government,” he said.
“We looked at three different sites, one was on Paradise Island, the other one was right on Fort Charlotte and then the other site was actually on the western end of the beach, which is actually right next to Fish Fry and the determination was made to put the training facility right next to Fish Fry so that tourists as well as Bahamians could be very connected to the teams.”
Lunn said teams are already requesting to come in two weeks ahead of the competition to get acclimated to the surface. He noted that the early arrival of the teams will also help to boost the economy during that period.
The 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was held in Portugal. The host country was victorious over Tahiti. The beach soccer World Cup is held every two years. It will be the first time that the tournament is held in the Caribbean.