11 July, 2008 - Published 14:49 GMT

Is football the new cricket?

Jack Warner, vice president of the International Football Federation (FIFA), has declared that test cricket is dead in the Caribbean.

He feels that football has taken over from cricket and that it has a much better future.

Regarding cricket, Trinidadian Mr Warner is of the view that twenty-twenty is the way to go.

Listen to his pronouncement on test cricket and have your say.

Jack Warner on cricket and football

Is Jack Warner right? Have your say.

Jack Warner is correct and football is now the number one sport in Jamaica and Trinidad. The thing with football is that it’s played in the English, Spanish, French and Dutch Caribbean, unlike cricket which only covers the English-speaking Caribbean.
I must say it would be nice if both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago meet in a final match fixture as a decider to which team grabs the 4th place in World Cup Qualifiers for 2010.
This is more than possible and if this should happen, Jack Warner, win or lose for T&T will have the last laugh as to which game is more dominant in the Caribbean. Mark this thread.

Funny, none of the said sports has impressed me much... I am not so interested in sports, however, I believe that the two sports have their season. There are times when you pass around in neighbourhoods and everyone is listening and tuned into cricket. At times every barbershop you visit you will find a television and a group of people listening and watching football. From what I gather the sports have their season.
Naomi Thomas
Virgin Lane, Roseau, Dominica

Mr. Jack Warner is wrong. Dead wrong! This is a stupid statement from Jack Warner. Barbados VS, USA in FIFA WC qualifier drew a mere 2,000 fans. Imagine only 2,000 and they hardly play any international matches in the Caribbean to begin with. If Test Cricket was only to be played once or twice a year and with no ODIs you would not be able to build a stadium big enough in the Caribbean. Too much of a good thing is one of the problems with cricket. Another factor is winning - we are on the path to correct that and we will soon.
In the Caribbean nothing will ever replace cricket as number one. Cricket is in our blood. Cricket gave us Sobers, Richards, Lloyd, Kanhai, Roberts, Marshall, 3 Ws, Ramadhin & Valentine, Rowe, Garner, Holding, Gibbs, Tiger. Cricket is the West Indies. West Indies is Cricket. Nothing will ever replace cricket and the No 1 sport or anything for that matter in the West Indies. Little Jack Warner, please go and sit in a corner.
Mohamed Zakir-Ur Rahaman

When Packer took on the world over nobody knew Stanford would be taking up the challenge using the Caribbean as a launching pad for Twenty20.

Caribbean leaders are not business-oriented politicians. These leaders look towards dynasties to rule forever to benefit a few. Sports and Cultural development is not an attraction for them until someone takes it and invests in it for the good of the people. If Caricom had seriously taken cricket to the level of basket-ball or American football in America, cricket would be at the top of the chart with Caribbean nationals coming home to see their country men and women play all matches. Look at soccer, America knows there is something in it for the stock market so they cash in.

The attention of sports and our athletes, be it cricket, athletics, soccer, or otherwise should be managed by qualified business persons, and only then the Caribbean can raise the death of sports and culture.

So Jack, you are right. Sports and Culture can only come alive through re-education to meet the standard of the global village.
Bernard Rollins
Newark, USA

Let's get this straight: twenty20 is just NOT cricket. Test cricket in the Caribbean is an institution. It's a wonderful part of our culture. It unites the entire Caribbean like no other sport. It has made legends out of so many Caribbean sportsmen How many Caribbean legends are there in football? Test cricket should definitely be preserved and encouraged. Mr Warner should stick to giving advice about football and leave the real cricket experts to decide about cricket's future.

While persons remain passionate about the sport of cricket, too many individuals remain glued to their televisions instead of going out there at the park to support the game of cricket. Cricket has become too commercialized and going to a test match is too costly. Without the crowd support any sports will die. The new generation of test cricketers, especially the batsmen, have made the game honestly boring. Something needs to be done to attract fans to the game. The game need to be revised and restructured to ensure there is always a result. This thing of just batting out for a draw has to be done away with. We are in an age where people are result oriented. The batsmen are not attractive and bowlers lack the killer instinct. It hurts watching cricket from the West Indies on television with so many empty seats in the background. Jack Warner is right, football has taken over. It’s sad but true whether we like it or not and we all had a role to play in this shift of interest. I love my cricket, but just cannot stand how boring test cricket has become lately, especially in the West Indies.
Bassterre, St. Kitts

Let it be known that Jack Warner speaks because someone told him he is Mr. know-it-all. Test cricket at this time in the Caribbean may not draw massive crowds. That's because the present W.I team is not performing as the team in the late 70's and 80's. Give this team two years again and then I hope Warner will eat his own words.
Faizal Ali
Hackney, UK

It would difficult for football to replace cricket in the Caribbean. In our region cricket means so much to us and it has so much history. It is probably the strongest force that unites Caribbean people.
Kingstown, St. Vincent

There are far more vital and important things to discuss at this time, for example is there an argricultural workshop/exhibit in schools from primary through secondary to teach the importance of sustainable crops? How about that we are surrounded by water, how many olympic standard swimmers do we have? We better change with the times ar remain colonial sheep. Cricket, soccer, cycling, waterpolo, track and field, marathon runners. Just do something other than cricket.

It is not the first time Jack has voiced such backward-thinking opinion. Of course, no one will deny that football is more popular than cricket, but to say "cricket is dead" does not help the conversation and coming from a man of his stature, he should be ashamed of himself. Cricket unifies the Caribbean and gives the smaller islands int'l exposure that they would never be able to get from football. The Jamaican experience shows that if enough resources are invested in sports programs, then Caribbean teams can be successful in many sports, instead of focusing on football, which is increasingly competitive in the CONCACAF region. Jamaica has excelled internationally in track and field, football, swimming, and at cricket at the regional level. Other Caribbean teams can do the same with cricket and football. Maybe Warner should say that he is not a cricket fan and leave cricket to those who actually care about the "dead" sport.
Brooklyn, USA

Football is the biggest game in the world and will eventually be the biggest sport in the Caribbean,we have more opportunities available to our young people in football than in Cricket. Football also is the bigger money earner.
M Howard

Mr Jack Warner … basketball and football will not replace cricket.
J K Holt
Canton, USA

Young men in Jamaica seem much more interested in playing basketball and football than playing cricket - especially in the urban areas. So many people get excited about the English Premier League and support teams (Man U is the most popular: Jamaicans like to back a winning team!) I don't hear that excitement about cricket. Cricket seems to be a middle/upper class, middle aged thing. It has lost a lot of its "Jamaican-ness." Meanwhile, inner city kids shoot hoops all day.
Kingston, Jamaica

It will not happen. For any individual Caribbean Island to achieve long-term football world status, it will require extensive planning for infrastructure, not in building facilities but implementing islandwide youth programs from age 6 or younger through the teen years. That will feed professional teams with paying fans. Point out to me which Caribbean Island has such a plan: none that I know of. If Mr. Warner expects this to happen with talk, he has a very long wait and you who buys his “words”, talk is cheap, executing takes visible action. The cost of implementing such programs prevents realization unless the Caribbean Islands can be removed from the "culture of freeness" that so identifies their lives, especially in TT. International success does not come from "last minute" planning so prevalent in TT. It takes a plan and executing the plan.
FitzArthur McLetchie

Jack Warner should know if there is no West Indies Cricket. There can be no football, no Caribbean games, no life, no food, no Caribbean.
CLR is right: cricket goes beyond the boundary. And that’s where it matters most.
Oliver J Lawrence
Castries, St Lucia

Football may attract a bigger crowd than cricket; but it’s lovely cricket through its historical orientation that still captures the mood and spirit of Caribbean people.
Nilio Gumbs
McKies Hill, St.Vincent

I am Dominican . I have Windies cricket at heart.
It is sad that the people who think that football will replace cricket as the sport of the West Indies, I pity them. A people without knowledge of their past is completely lost!!!! I would recommend they read Beyond a Boundary by CLR James. They will understand the true place of cricket in the history and struggles of this region.
In the words of the great calypsonian, David Rudder, " ... this is not just cricket; these things go beyond the boundary ..."
I would also recommend they look at the movie "Once Upon A Time in India". It will give them the true picture of real human struggles AND achievements with cricket as the vehicle!
Ronald Massicott

I don't think the question should have been "Is Jack Warner right?", it should have been "Is Jack Warner serious?"
No Caribbean country has a football team ranked over 80 (T&T is just barely over 90 and after them the next highest is Jamaica at the world cup-winning rank of 105) and it is very, very unlikely that any Caribbean team will feature in South Africa in 2010. Given that over a dozen countries in Europe, plus Mexico, the USA, the South American countries and now a number of African and Asian countries are very good or greatly improving in football where is this "better future" going to come from? Does Mr. Warner's definition of a better future mean success by Caribbean teams? Because if so, I find it difficult to see where such success will come from when places like Ghana, Japan, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Australia, Korea and even South Africa are all likely to become far more competitive in the future.
Maybe the better future is supposed to mean that Caribbean teams won't drop any further in the rankings.....
Kingston, Jamaica

Jack is right, since we started playing like the opposition, our game went south and lost vital support. The glory can return, if we begin to play our style again. Get rid of the cage that they put us to practice in - that stopped us from cutting and turning - and return to start playing in tracks and our grand parents’ back yard. Too mmuch fancy pitches! Gibbs didn’t grip his leg break the way that the book showed, yet he was one of the best. And if a player is good, pick him based on performance, and not where he was born. Redhead, Walker and Gresham from Grenada, Mason and Brisbain from St Vincent, and Mindue Phillip from St Lucia never got a chance because of where they were born. Remember when Shillingford was the most outstanding player during a Shell series, and he was left home? Those are the things that we are still trying to overcome. Some youngsters are heading to basketball, but they don’t stand a chance, because to begin with, they don’t have the height, yet it’s being pushed down their throat with the exception of Jamaica.
Raffie Knowles
New York, USA

I disagree with Mr.Warner. Twenty five years ago when The Windies dominated every facet of world cricket, cricket matches played in some parts of Grenada had little or no spectators at all, however local soccer matches brought hundreds of spectators to the grounds. Soccer has always been popular in the Caribbean but it cannot do what cricket has done, soccer does not have the colonial heritage, it does not belong to that still exclusive group and there is no regional team. Cricket will never be dead. No Caribbean nation will be winning the soccer world cup anytime soon, cricket has a better chance of achieving that again before we see any major soccer trophy in the British West Indies. Individually more locals can get contracts abroad, that is where the opportunity lies in soccer. Soccer does not create regional fervour, Dwight Yorke is simply seen as Trinidadian, not West Indian, there is little West Indian context. There is nothing to replace cricket as a representation of the region therefore there will always be a cricket torch lit. Cricket today is more organized in The Caribbean than at any other time in its history, what we have is clearly less success. More folks may go to watch a soccer game but cricket is what will represent the West Indies as a nation.
Keith Greenidge
Toronto, Canada

Of course football is the new cricket. Is anyone surprised? Thanks to the ECB's strategy to destroy our game by kicking our players out of the county cricket circuit two decades has worked! Our game is dead.
Brian Weekes
Woodhaven, USA

Mr.Warner is wrong i have never seen a match like that. T&T just gave away the goals to England. They should have at least one in their names but again Trinidad lost. If we had hour old coach Leo, we would have had at least two goals.
Adrian Baptiste
Belmont, Trinidad & Tobago

Give Jack he jacket. He is true to his word. Football is bigger now. Cricket in the Caribbean has lost a great: Brian Lara, who many believe was forced out of the game. Now we in Trinidad have hope that football will give birth to greatness.
Nixon Callender
Tunapuna, Trinidad

Sad to say but our beautiful game of cricket is now a moribund sport in these parts. A combination of weak administration, more lucrative sports like football of course, and a 'conspiracy to cripple WI cricket by external forces have done the tricks. It very regrettable because cricket is one of the very few uniting forces we have in the Caribbean.
George Maxwell
Roseau,Commonwealth of Dominica

Cricket in the Caribbean, especially at Test level, plays a very symbolic and integral role for the Caribbean: both as a symbol of liberation and as an integrating and unifying force. Football on the other hand has never brought anything but humiliating defeats. Granted, at least 3 Caribbean nations have qualified for the World Cup but this seems to be a very one-off occurrence. Test Cricket should never be abandoned.
Oliver Thomas

Mr. Warner is so correct. I could not have expressed it better. In Jamaica, cricket has all but disappeared. The slow pace of cricket is not very appealing to today’s youth on a large scale. The 20-20 format brings new life to a dying sport.
Davin Jack
Road Town, Tortola BVI

The question is not whether cricket is dead in the Caribbean but rather what should the governing body do about territories like Antigua that refuse to support the game for what ever reason.
When there were five or so Antiguans on the team at one point, the Antiguan public supported the team. Now they are no longer interested.
If test matches are scheduled for islands like St. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica and then the bigger territories, the cricket will be supported and the governing body will realize moderate revenue.
Test cricket is not dead. Furthermore the 20-20 game needs test stars if it is to thrive. Test stars can only become such when they play test matches. All cricket governing bodies must seek to protect test cricket, for it is the fundamental version of this great sport.
Greg Faustin