Fifa will decide Wednesday whether the Bangkok Futsal Arena, where the flooring is behind schedule, can be used for the Futsal World Cup 2012 which is due to kick off tomorrow.
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, second left, and Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, centre, form a defensive line against rivals in a friendly futsal match between City Hall and journalists. The game was held to test the Bangkok Futsal Arena in Nong Chok district, where construction work has been dogged by delays. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD
Representatives of the world football governing body led by Jaime Yarza, Fifa's senior manager of Futsal and Beach Soccer Competitions, have not come to a conclusion on the stadium's readiness but are expected to base their decision on the "whole picture" of the arena, said deputy Bangkok governor Taya Teepsuwan after meeting the Fifa team Tuesday.
The 1.2-billion-baht stadium, located on 10 rai of land in Nong Chok district, is designed to seat up to 12,500 spectators, far more than the capacity of 5,000 at the Nimibutr Gymnasium at Pathumwan's National Stadium and the 6,000 at Hua Mak Indoor Stadium.
However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), which is in charge of building the stadium, said the flooding late last year delayed its work, putting flooring and seating work on the fourth and fifth floors behind schedule.
Fifa has been lenient over some of the unfinished construction work, saying 2,000 seats on the two floors do not have to meet the deadline, Ms Taya said.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday told journalists that imported wooden flooring has arrived in Thailand.
City workers can lay the flooring to cover an area of 1,250 square metres within a day, he said.
City Hall decided to cancel the import of wooden flooring from China after encountering snags at Chinese customs, and instead bought the material from Malaysia and Taiwan.
MR Sukhumbhand yesterday presided over a religious ceremony held for good luck before the stadium is opened.
Later he joined a BMA All Star team, which included Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Bangkok governors Bhichit Rattakul and Apirak Kosayodhin, to play a journalists' team in a special futsal match to test the facilities.
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- Writer: Supoj Wancharoen