By Asanka Gammanpila
In a move aimed at bringing back the glamour and crowds at rugby, the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SRLFU) has decided for the first time to work out the league tournament under floodlights at the revamped Havelock Park and Navy ground at Welisara.
The new 2012 domestic season is scheduled to kick off on June 8with Army hosting Havelocks.
But the match between last year’s runners-up Navy and CH and FC on June 9 could go down in history as the first league match to be played under lights at Welisara.
“When we asked for permission to host our matches under lights, the Union gave us a positive response. For a start our game against CH will span day and night starting at 5.30 pm and continuing into the night”, said Navy coach Ronnie Ibrahim.
Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) president Asanga Seneviratne said that apart from Navy there were other clubs that gave the thumps-up for playing rugby at night.
He said that one of the most popular venues Havelock Park will be ready to host matches under lights in July while the new ground at Reid Avenue (Race Course) will be ready with a lighting system by November.
“We hope other clubs who have grounds will also develop their venues to play under lights”, said Seneviratne.
“I know some clubs are running with a lack of funds and will find it difficult for lighting facilities. In that case the Union will make arrangements to help them out”, assured Seneviratne. “Thereafter we can start matches at 6.30 pm and can expect more spectators after work”.
He said the entry of foreigners to play this season could be another boost to bring back rugby fans.