Thailand still struggling to fulfill their venue obligations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup
Deputy Bangkok governor Thirachon Manomaipibul said yesterday the flooring material had trouble obtaining customs clearance in China.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), which is responsible for the project, decided to cancel the order for the material and has now placed orders from Malaysia, Taiwan and Italy instead.
Mr Thirachon said the flooring material from the new sources should arrive in time today and will be installed straight away to be ready for a test of the facility Tuesday.
Mr Thirachon noted that politics might have been involved in construction delays besetting the project, and he will expose the suspected foul play Tuesday.
However, Mr Thirachon was confident the Nong Chok arena will be completed in time for matches from the quarter-finals stage onwards, starting on Nov 14. The Futsal World Cup kicks off on Thursday and runs until Nov 18.
The handover of the stadium to the world football governing Fifa, originally scheduled for last Sunday, was postponed until today, when Fifa’s experts are expected to arrive at the stadium for a final inspection. A test of the facility is planned for tomorrow.
The 12,000-seat Bangkok Futsal Arena was initially slated as the main venue for the tournament, which was to host the opening ceremony and matches from the first round onwards.
But construction delays forced Fifa to switch the opening ceremony to Hua Mak Indoor Stadium, and first- and second-round matches from the Nong Chok arena to other venues _ Nimibutr Gymnasium at the National Stadium, and Nakhon Ratchasima’s Chatchai Hall.
The Nong Chok stadium will now host matches from the quarter-finals stage _ if it is completed in time.
Saengchan Worasumant, director-general of the Physical Education Department, said Nimibutr Gymnasium had been closed for renovation for four months but was now ready to be handed over.
Watchara Kannikar, spokesman for the Tourism and Sports Ministry, said the Hua Mak stadium and the Nakhon Ratchasima venue are also ready to be handed over.