Dhaka, Bangladesh
Galle at risk of losing international cricket

Galle at risk of losing international cricket

The picturesque Galle International Stadium could be demolished due to the unauthorised construction of the pavilion stand, which has put the overlooking 17th century Dutch fort at risk of losing UNESCO World Heritage status, reports AFP. This means that the first Test against England from November 6-10 could be the final international game played at the venue, which attracts a lot of tourists due to its beautiful setting on the coastline of the Indian Ocean. It is understood that the UNESCO did not oppose the staging of cricket matches, but wanted the unauthorised constructions removed around the ground. The 500-seating pavilion, that was built in 2008 during the ground's reconstruction post the devastating Tsunami attack four years earlier, blocks the view of the fort from the main Galle road. "We have to decide if we want to remain in the World Heritage list or keep the pavilion," Cultural Affairs Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said in the parliament. Although the Sports Minister Faiszer Musthapha confirmed that there will be no immediate demolition of the stadium, there is talk of a new stadium could be built in Galle. "We want to maintain the World Heritage status for the fort. We will work out an alternative for the cricket stadium," he said. Meanwhile, Arjuna Ranatunga, former cricketer and a current cabinet member, urged the concerned to demolish the illegal structures and raise temporary stands during Test matches to ensure the stadium is not deprived of international cricket. "We need to keep both the heritage status for the fort and at the same time play international matches at Galle," Ranatunga, now a minister in the current government, told AFP.

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