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REMODELLED STADIUM TO COME WITH STRICT CAPACITY ENFORCEMENT

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The remodelled Independence Stadium will come with strict capacity enforcement rules that will require a change of attitude of spectators and a new approach by the organisers of matches.

A highly placed source familiar with the ongoing works told The Standard that the new arrangements of seats will reflect the true capacity of the stadium which is far less than the widely assumed 25,000 capacity.

“The stadium’s actual capacity has always been wrongly perceived and therefore always overcrowded. The remodelling work is changing the facility to a modern arena where for the first time in 40 years, the stadium will carry only its official capacity and on each occasion, accessed by people according to the number seats available. Match tickets will be sold according to the number of seats and no more. Each seat will be numbered and occupied by only one person across the facility,” a source told The Standard.

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Our source also added that generally, access to the stadium would be scarce and conditions strictly adhered to.

The Standard reached out to a grounds manager at one of the municipal grounds who said the first challenge the stadium’s authorities and event organisers would face is enforcing the new rules.

“In The Gambia, everyone connected with football feels entitled to free access and often accompany children or partners not catered for. Senior government officials are hardly subjected to ticketing and often abuse VIP tickets while some security officials, even off-duty, would put on uniforms just to have access to the stadium on big events. Some journalists would come late without press cards and would scream to the whole world when stopped by security. So there has to be attitudinal changes from all including banning the hosting of music festivals and useless political events mainly by ruling party leaders and supporters,” the grounds man said. The Gambia is hoping to host Congo in the final Afcon qualifiers on 4 September. Though government is encouraged by the progress and predicting that work will finish in July, seasoned football followers remain sceptical arguing that the pitch may not be ready before September.  

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