Marist moves to 'Plan B' as Apia park closes

By Talaia Mika 05 June 2023, 5:12PM

The Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club is considering its options to host the 35th Marist St Joseph's International Rugby 7s tournament this weekend.

The tournament was initially scheduled to be held at Apia Park from 8–10 June 2023 but the Motherland Samoa concert last Saturday, which was attended by close to a thousand music fans, has left the oval at the stadium in a dilapidated state. 

It is understood the organisers of the tournament are now looking at the Marist Sports Complex at Lotopa or Saint Joseph's College at Alafua.

The Samoa Sports Facility Authority (S.S.F.A.) on Monday issued a notice on their official Facebook page to advise of the temporary closure of Apia Park.

"We wish to advise the public that Apia Park Sports Complex will be closed from today June 5th until further notice," the S.S.F.A. post reads. 

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get a comment from the Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club president,  Pouniu Peter Schmidt were unsuccessful. 

However, a senior official with the authority, Mavaega Mavaega told this newspaper over the telephone that the temporary closure of the stadium is due to the current state of the park following the concert.

He added that the Marist 7s Sports Club will move to Plan B which is to use the Marist Sports complex in Lotopa or St. Joseph's College.

"We're closing the park temporarily but Marist might have to move to either Marist Sevens Sports Complex in Lotopa or the St Joseph's College. That's their plan B," he said. "Their original booking was in March but I think they wanted to coincide with the Independence celebrations hence why they postponed it.

"But with the state of the park currently, it's just a natural remedy for the rain and it happened two years back so we just need to fix it."

Asked about who is going to manage and fix the park, especially the field that turned muddy last Saturday evening, Mavaega said they are the Government authority authorised for the park and the events company, while NaYDith Events Hireage was only hired to put up tents and some of the equipment and furniture used at the concert.

He said he was also advised that an employee with the events company mentioned that they will "improvise on how to regrow the grass" which turned muddy during the performances. 

This year’s 5th Marist St Joseph's International Rugby 7s international tournament features teams from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and American Samoa. The teams include a Fiji development 7s team which will have at least six players who played in the recent World Sevens Series.

Marist has long used this event as a vehicle to support and advance grassroots development programs in sports and create pathways towards professional career opportunities in rugby for local talents.

By Talaia Mika 05 June 2023, 5:12PM
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