No home for football

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Lawson Tama Stadium. Photo supplied.
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SIFF handed short term lease

BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II

THE iconic Lawson Tama Stadium will likely no longer be termed as the Home of Football in the Solomon Islands.

This was after negotiations between the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) and the Honiara City Council to renew the federations’ lease on the stadium did not work out in football’s favor.

According to SIFF reports, the Lawson Tama will no longer be called the ‘home of football’ because of the council’s lease termination end of last year.

While the HCC, the Solomon Islands Football Federation’s and TSL board had met twice early this month, the only agreement the parties have reached was for SIFF and the TSL Board to complete matches for Round 2 of the 2020-2021 seasons of the premier league.

Parties involved have already drafted a short term Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), an agreement between HCC and SIFF’s TSL board to regulate football and continue to use the iconic ground to complete the TSL matches, which resumes this weekend.

The short term Lawson Tama proposed deal settlement has left SIFF with limited options but to seek compensation from HCC for the developments done at the stadium over the years.

A SIFF well-informed insider revealed to SunSPORTS that the football governing body will no longer challenge the contract on legal grounds.

However said SIFF will be seeking compensation from the HCC for previous development the federation had done at the stadium.

“HCC termination of the lease agreement is final. SIFF cannot challenge it, legally it has been reached and by a way of compensating the developments that have already been taking place at the stadium is the forthcoming option for SIFF,” he said.

SIFF President Willie Lai when contacted regarding the issue says they are hoping for the national government to intervene since the country’s number one sport will be without a standard stadium within two years – pending on construction of the new football home at the former ROC Taiwan farm at King George by end of the year 2022.

“We have worked towards everything for Lawson Tama stadium to get things done, and unfortunately our negotiations didn’t work out in football’s favor,” Mr. Lai admits.

“Ultimately, we are seeking the government’s assistance.

This setback means, organized national football competitions apart from TSL, SIFF will have to look for alternatives.

 “Lawson Tama has been a global highlight of Honiara City and it has been a commercial site because of football,” Lai adds.

HCC ceased the lease agreement on 31st December 2020 citing there was no record of MOU backdated to 2017 when the lease has lapsed and also accusing SIFF of not living up to their end of the deal of allowing other sports or activities to take place within the stadium. 

The original agreement between SIFF and HCC was on a four years term, and unlikely there are no plans for its renewal for football as HCC wants it to be a multi-sporting venue.


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