What’s happening to Sugathadasa Stadium
CT Sports: Laying of the synthetic track at Sugathadasa Stadium will be further delayed with the losing bidder of the tender once again had appealed to Procurement Appeal Board (PAB) in a desperate attempt to prove that they are the rightful party who should be awarded the contract.
The bid document required fulfillment of stringent conditions to qualify, including prior experience in laying at least five Class I Pull FUR tracks and five Class II tracks in South Asia for the relaying of synthetic track at the Sugathadasa Sports Complex. The works include repairs and improvement to other features related to the synthetic tracks.
There were three bidders for the contract.
Conica – Access Joint Venture
Polytan Asia –Sierra joint Venture
CML-MTD Joint Venture
CML-MTD was firstly rejected for not meeting the requirements that the manufacturer must have prior experience in installing at least five Pull FUR Class I tracks. They have stated that they won’t challenge the decision as it will only further delay the laying of the track which is National requirement at the moment for country’s sports.
The tender is now awarded to Conica-Access Joint Venture for Rs 269,339,325 (without VAT) earlier this month which now has been challenged by Polytan Asia –Sierra JV on technical grounds.
Background of Companies
Conica is the present sponsor of the World Athletics Governing body, IAAF. The company is situated in Switzerland and according to their website they have been in operation since 1977. With evidence gathered by Ceylon Today such as IAAF Track certificate to ATATURK stadium in 2006 Conica has acquired 10 years experience in laying tracks. Also according to IAAF list of tracks Conica had laid 24 Class I tracks so far.
Polytan Aisa is a company based in Australia who installs synthetics surfaces. According to their website the company began in 1998 with combination of two companies and the company was called ‘Sports Technology International (STI)’ back then. And it was only in 2008 that they have joined with global sports company, ‘Sports Group’ that collaborated with another European leading Sports Manufacture Polytan. They received official recognition only three years ago in 2014 and they rebranded the company as Polytan only by then. According to IAAF list of tracks Polytan Asia or the company based in Australia called Polytan has not laid a single synthetic track. There are 21 class one tracks laid by Polytan GMBH and seven by APT USA who are also under Sports Group.
Since Sports Ministry has already awarded the contract to Conica-Access JV, with enough evidence to support that they do have the required qualifications such as 10 years experience and more than five class I tracks in places, whereas the Swiss based Conica has 24.
The argument of the spokesperson on behalf of Sierra- Polytan Asia joint venture is that since Polytan Asia been part of Sports Group which also owns multiple other companies such as Polytan GMBH and APT USA etc, etc, they meet the requirements for the tender.
Polytan GMBH has 21 Class I tracks and APT USA has seven Class I tracks but can these experiences be categorize as experience of Polytan Asia? That’s the question raised by spokesperson from Conica-Access JV.
“Sports Group is the main company. Polytan GMBH, APT USA and Polytan Asia are under Sports group but how can Polytan Asia state that they have 28 Class I tracks which is a combination of tracks laid by Polytan GMBH and APT USA?” questions spokesperson with conditions of anonymity.
“If the joint venture is between Sports Group and Sierra that’s a different argument but with JV is between Polytan Asia and Sierra how can they categorize the experience and specialty of other companies under their name? They are manipulating and misleading authorities with false facts,” he further said.
Conica has four track surface products registered with IAAF. Out of those Conipur MX+ is 15mm FULL PUR product, (Which is the requirement of tender document). On the other hand for Polytan Asia, there are no registered track surfacing products. Polytan GMBH has four track surfacing products and out of those Reckortan PUR/Polytan PUR s 15.00m. The famous product Rekorata 99 which is also a product which is used to lay the 2002 Sugathadasa track is owned by USA based company APT and since APT is under Sports Group, Polytan Asia –Sierra joint Venture has categorized that as their product which again raised questions by Access – Conica JV as of how Polytan Asia list a product which are owned by a different company, as their product.
Meanwhile, Polytan Asia –Sierra JV too claims that Conica has acquired the relevant experience through their former partner BASF construction chemicals. He also states that TEC has acted in a bias manner and questioned how Conica reduced their tender by millions this time.
Nevertheless, Ceylon Today understood that TEC had rejected Sierra –Polytan JV since the JV has not submitted power of attorney which has been notified in writing to the said JV by Ministry of Sports early July. But the Sierra – Polytan JV challenge the decision stating it wasn’t clear while they have a MOU between two companies to be JV.
What will happen now?
PAB will now inquire the said appeal and will come to a conclusion either to go with selected bidder, award the tender to losing bidder or to float new tender. But in either situation the laying of Sugathadasa track will be further delayed.
According to experts it will need at least 3-4 months to properly relay the track of the Sugathadasa Stadium. Meaning the construction should start immediately in order for athletes to train at least by next year.
At present Sugathadasa old track is removed and it’s in an unusable condition. The only other synthetic track in the country is Diyagama Stadium which is too in a worn-out condition. Even with this condition SL athletes managed to win a Gold and four Silver medals at the Asian Championship, authorities will expect more from them at the next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games. But to do so they must have a proper place to train and this situation with the tender will not help that cause.
What happened earlier?
Sugathadasa Stadium was abandoned a few months after the tracks were re-laid in 2012 at a cost of Rs 113million to host the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Colombo. But the track showed signs of physical damage less than 12 months into completion as low quality raw materials had been used.
Sports Ministry floated a tender for relaying of Sugathadasa track last year but could not get work underway as unsuccessful bidders appealed to Procurement Appeal Board of Presidential Secretariat who decided to call for a fresh tender.