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Sri Lanka set for major new cricket stadium

Plans have been announced for a new international-standard cricket stadium in the Sri Lankan town of Homagama.

The plans, which were revealed by Sri Lanka Cricket and the national government, would deliver a stadium with an initial capacity of 40,000. The second phase of the project would see the ground expanded to host 60,000 fans.

Homagama is located in the district of Colombo, which already boasts the 35,000-seat R. Premadasa Stadium. The new stadium would become the biggest cricket ground in Sri Lanka.

The stadium is expected to take a total of three years to build. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Shammi Silva said that the stadium will cost around $30m (£24.7m/€27.7m) to $40m to build.

“The stadium will be constructed on a 26-acre piece of land with a total seating capacity of 60,000 to accommodate fans, with the ground to host day and night matches,” Bandula Gunwardena, Sri Lanka’s Information Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Minister, said, according to Sri Lankan newspaper Daily News.

“During the first phase of the stadium, capacity will be provided to accommodate around 40,000 fans. The second phase will provide seating capacity for 20,000 with the best facilities.”

SLC said in a statement issued today (Monday): “In view of the increasing demand for the game and especially due to the popularity of the short formats of the game, the need has arisen to cater to large crowds with easy access in an urban environment. It should also be noted that ICC (International Cricket Council) has now afforded the opportunity for member countries to express their interest in staging the World Cup series in the respective countries for which it is expected to have at least five international level cricket stadiums in the country with a seating capacity of around 25,000 – 40,000.

“It is undoubted that cricketing events of such magnitude will bring massive foreign currency inflow to the country, which is an essential fact in today’s economy standpoint. Further, it is important to note that Sri Lanka Cricket has also expressed interest in the ICC’s request to host two ICC World Cup events which are scheduled to be held in the years 2023 to 2031.

“Taking all aspects into consideration and after evaluating the completion of a comprehensive study on the project’s operational aspect and its financial feasibility, the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket will decide on how to proceed with investing in this project as the sole investor.

“It also should be noted that financial feasibility should assure the non-hindrance to the operational and other development projects which are currently engaged by SLC due to the commencement of the Homagama International Cricket Stadium project.

“As such, this project will be an absolute and private investment of Sri Lanka Cricket and no government funds will be utilised and/or will be sought at any stage of the construction.”

Sri Lanka also has international-standard cricket stadia in Kandy, Galle, Hambantota, Dambulla, Pallekele and Moratuwa.