The rise of a New Era
The Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club (CR & FC) entered into a new ear in its 85th year of existence when it declared open its new pavilion on June 19th, 2007 at 6:30pm. The new building includes a viewing deck that will seat 500 people, six corporate boxes, two state of the art Dressing rooms, and outside bar lounge for members and their guests, a lounge bar for members only, and finally a fine dining restaurant to serve members and their guests.
The building was ceremoniously opened by the main sponsors of the building the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), President Hurley Silveira and the CEO of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) David Griffiths. The main architect behind this project has been Mr. Manilal Fernando, Vice President of the Asian Football Committee as well the Chairman of Holcim Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (Holcim) who was instrumental in securing 40% of the funding of the total project cost, whilst HSBC and other sponsors of the CR & FC managed to sponsor the balance funds needed.
The Ceylon Breweries who have been a long standing partner of the CR & FC have yet again shown their merit in joining hands once again, along with private Blue Chips, MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd (MAS) and Brandix Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (Brandix), and publicly quoted, the largest Blue Chip in the country, John Keells Holdings (Pvt) Ltd (JKH) also adding their ever so generous hand once again. Finally, we have Holcim contributing bigheartedly to complete the round up of corporate sponsors of this project.
No building of the CR & FC will be complete without its stalwarts and immense contributors of yesteryear being involved, and who can boast of no other than two such great gentleman other than the CR & FC – Mahesa Rodrigo and Summa Navaratnam. They will be always remembered for what they mean to the CR & FC and what they did for the CR & FC, and they will graciously cut the ribbon to the stairway to the pavilion. At this juncture, it would be going against the call of duty if the service of another great CR member, Kavan Rambukwella is not mentioned for his role to the strength of the CR & FC. He will be sadly missed and he would have been one proud “parent” if he was able to witness another historic occasion at the CR & FC.
The current pavilion was the brain child of yet another magnanimous member, Ashroff (Ashy) Cader who was the General Secretary in the early 60’s and his idea of interest free 10 year debentures to fund a building paid dividends as the current pavilion was built from these funds. The goal at that time was to complete the building for the All India Tournament that was staged in Ceylon in 1964. This was done.
Any member of the CR & FC cannot forget the past contributions of yet another CR & FC member, Mr. U.N. Gunesekera, who the club owns immensely for his personal contribution and dedication in helping the CR & FC enjoy the fruits of his labor from the 70’s to current day 2007. Mr. Gunesekera helped build around Ashy Cader’s brain child and added options to the building such as the gymnasium, squash courts, pavilion terraces and the terraces on the “Gandhi” side.
Last, but not least, we have to thank the convener of the Development Committee, Ronnie Guneratne for his hard work, and Rajiv Senenayake for his yeoman service in the architecture of the building, whilst not forgetting the remaining Development Committee members, headed by Hemaka Amarasuriya. No project could have been completed without the astute leadership of the General Committee, headed by the ever versatile President, Ravi Balasuriya whose leadership paved the way thru tiring and emotional times.
WE AWAIT THE NEW ERA to continue the good work of the past………………………… CR & FC
Stadium Facts and Figures:
- Six corporate boxes equipped with Airconditioning and Television and with a seating capacity of 25 per box
- Upper Deck viewing facilities for up to 500 spectators
- Ground Floor consist of two fully equipped dressing rooms with seating capacity for 30