Gibbs hopes for Miami slice of World Cup

Published: Sunday, December 21, 2003, 18:23 [IST]
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London:The United States have placed their hopes of hosting matches in the 2007 World Cup in the hands of legendary West Indies spinner Lance Gibbs.

And the great man, who took 309 Test wickets before retiring to South Florida in 1976, is confident that the tournament, being hosted mostly in the Caribbean, can wean Americans off their staple diet of basketball, baseball and gridiron.

Gibbs and his colleagues hope to bring World Cup matches to the city of Lauderhill, 30 miles north of Miami by building a 35,000 seater stadium.

The ground is on course to be ready by 2005, with plenty of time to satisfy inspectors from the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it meets regulations.

"In the Lauderhill area we've got 109 acres of land and the mayor and governor have put in around 40 million dollars (22.66m pounds) in order to make this a success," Gibbs told the BBC Sport website.

"We would be in a group probably with Jamaica and some of the other countries close by.

"The soccer World Cup was the biggest money-spinner ever and I see cricket being not far away from that."

The American venue is just one of 12 candidate sites battling it out to host matches in the World Cup.

"I know the West Indies board have got a good chance of making a fair amount of money if it's played here in the USA," said Gibbs who estimated there are around 10,000 cricketers in the US, mostly ex-pats from the West Indies, India and Pakistan.

"We're hoping to have games involving Pakistan and India because there are a lot of people from the Third World that live here and they're pretty keen on cricket."

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