China to gift stadium to the Solomons

A 12 000 seater stadium is set to be built in the Solomon Islands. Bankrolled entirely by China.

Benjamin Totori Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands Captain Benjamin Totori. Here in action against Tuvalu at the Pacific Games in July. (Photo credit: SIFF Media)

The Chinese government’s support comes after the Solomon Islands made the political switch from backing Taiwan, to backing China.

According to ABC, the stadium is due to cost $74 million.

It’s set to be built for the 2023 Pacific Games which the Solomon Islands will host.

“For the last two years there have been consultations between various committees over facility improvements. I was invited to be part of the Prime Minister’s delegation to Beijing,” Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai told ABC Radio Australia last month.

As Football in Oceania has previously reported, Lawson Tama Stadium is also set to be upgraded. Lai hopes the new stadium and the redevelopment of Lawson Tama could lead to the Solomon Islands hosting the OFC Nations Cup in the future.

“They will build one 12.000 seater stadium, free of charge from China. We are now negotiating with our government for Lawson Tama to be developed to a better standard. Then we have two international standard playing fields, plus other training facilities, we will definitely be able to host international football games.”

While other Pacific countries like Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Fiji have all broached the subject of having professional leagues, Lai says the Solomons will hopefully start to have one after 2023.

“We are now in consultation and negotiation, we will give our best that maximum priorities are given to football. We are arguing to the government, “you need to take this as a priority”. If we have a pro league, players and staff are paid and we can have improvement of the players and hopefully, they can be marketable to overseas,” Lai said.

 

Author: Ola Bjerkevoll

A passion for everything football and especially in Oceania. Owner of Football in Oceania.

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