Futsal World Cup: Main venue may not finish in time

Futsal World Cup 2012 Model: Bangkok Futsal Arena

model: Bangkok Futsal Arena

The shades the Futsal World Cup 2012 is throwing, are getting shorter and shorter. Another 48 days remain up to the planned opening match at the Bangkok Futsal Arena. We visited the construction site this week and were sobered.

As of today, 48 days to go up to the opening of the Futsal World Cup in Thailand. Therefore a new multipurpose arena in which, among the rest, the opening games, ceremony and the final should take place, is built in the east of Bangkok. 1.3 billion Baht (approx. 32.5 million Euro) were estimated for the whole project including infrastructure. Construction of the arena started in January this year, and onces finished should be able to hold up to 12,000 spectators.

But in the visit of the construction site this week, and with all due respect, it is illusionary, games can be held there in November under normal conditions. The whole building is still in the shell of building. There is still no roof, the exterior staircases are not ready yet and also the court is not put on yet.

Apart from this, the whole interior finish with media connections and power supply needs to be done and as everybody knows takes a lot of time. Although shifts are on 24/7, you do not need to be an expert to find out that a completion is not possible before the opening of the worlds biggest Futsal event. Besides the whole area around the venue, currently is full of mountains of mud and building materials.

Although one has seen on the example of the new Chiang Rai stadium, Thais can be rather practical. At need, one climbs over construction waste and rather than sitting on bleachers, you put a sheet of paper under your back part, and done. But with the world championship not only Thais are present and Thailand as such would like to put itself in the shopping window. And of course also Thais prefer to sit on clean seats in the end.

But, how do you want to tell foreign visitors they have to climb over the mud? Not to talk about security aspects. Nevertheless, for an international sporting event things should look peachy at least, with planting of grass and paved ways. And one may also want to get into conversation with one or other visitor from time to time.

FIFA have to bear part of the blame

During our inspection we could briefly talk to one engineer. In some way he seemed to be a bit bewildered. But on the flip side you could feel that a give up is not an option for all involved parties. Everybody is willing to give everything up to the last second to accomplish the mission.

Bangkok Futsal Arena September 2012

The Futsal Arena in construction

The engineer we were talking to told us: "Although as spectator of the opening ceremony, one don't need to bring a paint bucket along, however, one should not lean upon the walls..." For him, the reason for the delay lies less with the floods last year, but with incapable politicians. At this point, at least, the Thais are not to blame alone. On large parts the "old maid" lies with the FIFA. The world governing body apparently hadn't examined Thailand good enough for feasibility before the final assignment was made in July 2010.

Initially Thailand's plan was to have some games played at the already available "Impact Arena" which can hold  a maximum of 10,000 spectators. This proposal was rejected by FIFA a few months after the World Cup was assigned to Thailand, on the ground: the Arena may not be spectator-friendly enough. With all things which are said about Thais in the matter of inefficiency, it must be admitted that it is an outstanding performance how quick the task has been attacked. How fast the new venue has been planned and funding were released. Even in Germany, known for its efficiency, such a project would not have been executed faster.

Plan B?

For an arena comparable of the same size, 3-year construction time was required for SAP-Arena in Mannheim. It took 15 months to construct the Basketball Arena for the Olympics in London and 2 years for the "Copper box" where Handball was played. As Thais are known for to be world champions in improvising, one may be curious on a possible Plan B and how he looks. At current stage it could be the "Indoor Arena Hua Mark", at least for the opening day. But maybe we see the "Impact Arena" back on the agenda, where the "Thailand Open" in Tennis are held regularly.

With the amount of advertisement the Local Organizing Committee around Suwat Liptapanlop is running currently (in Thailand, not to mention abroad), the by far smaller venue Thai-Japanese (3.000) maybe even sufficient at the end. Because so far, promotion is still limited to 50 Tuk-Tuks driving through Bangkok with the World Cup logo, sticker on the interior of the Skytrain above the doors, two colossal balls (one put up in Bangkok and one in Nakhon Ratchasima), as well as two games of Thailand against Spain within the scope of the world championship draw 3 weeks ago.

Anther thrilling point, how to deal with tickets already sold for the opening day and the new Futsal Arena? Did someone acted in foreknowledge and this is the reason why not all tickets went on pre-sale?

Bangkok Futsal Arena, September 2012


Bangkok Futsal Arena, September 2012


Bangkok Futsal Arena, September 2012


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