Maldives Minister of Human Resources, Youth and Sports Mohamed Rasheed Hussain met with ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the building of an international cricket stadium in Hulhumalé. Hulhumalé is a newly developing island located in the Kaafu Atoll and is a 15-minute boat ride from Maldives capital Malé.

The Maldives Minister of Human Resources, Youth and Sports with the ACC Chief Executive

The concept paper submitted to the ACC by Mr. Hussain states, “The project is aimed at broadening international relationships and opening the market for investment in the Maldives with regards to the development of the country and its youth.” Of the multi-island nation’s 400,000 people, approximately one–third are between the ages of 18 to 35, many of whom are unfortunately beset by endemic drug abuse. This new venture is seen as a way to boost interest in sport amongst youths in a game regarded as character-building with much social benefit. A long-term aim is for the new stadium to host international cricket games.

Cricket Board of Maldives President Ahmed Hassan Didi says, “This is a very good business venture but it does need some financial backing and currently we are looking for that. Hulhumalé is reclaimed land that is set to meet the existing and future housing, industrial and commercial development demands of the Malé region as it is getting very congested there. The development of an international cricket stadium has been on the agenda for some time and we are very happy that the government is helping with this.”

According to Mr. Didi, five years ago at the request of previous Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were looking to play cricket matches in Maldives. The plan was called off when the BCCI realized that the facilities were insufficient.

Turf net in Male, February 2007

There is considerable cricketing talent in the islands but with no proper turf wickets or dedicated grounds and only one turf net, cricketers have to share practice grounds with footballers. The new stadium at Hulhumalé has been allotted a total area of 57,000 square meters and will look to seat 9000 people in its stands. The distinguishing factor of this man-made island is that it is around 1 metre above sea-level, higher than Malé and many other Maldive islands.

The ACC Chief Executive says, “The Maldives government are serious in building this stadium and this is a very positive sign for cricket in Maldives. We will do all we can to help and look forward to the completion of the stadium there.”

Cricket Rebuilds a Part of the Maldives
Maldives Cricket Profile

Filed May 20th, 2010