Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has abandoned plans to build a new 40,000-seat international cricket stadium in Homagama, near the capital Colombo.
The new venue was slated to have an initial capacity of 40,000 and was to be located near Colombo’s 35,000-seater R Premadasa Stadium, which is currently the largest stadium in Sri Lanka.
But the new stadium plans were scrapped after local legends of the game, including former captains Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene, warned it would end up as a white elephant.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office said in a statement:
It was decided at a meeting with former top players today that instead of the proposed Homagama stadium it was better to spend money on building school cricket.
SLC had earlier issued a statement saying it would be fully funding the new venue. It said:
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 has now afforded the opportunity for member countries to express the 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 year 2023 to 2031.
SLC said it would take all aspects into consideration and after evaluating the completion of a comprehensive study on the project’s operational aspect and its financial feasibility, it would decide on how to proceed with investing in the project as the sole investor.
The new venue would have cost $30 million to complete.