Futsal stadium issue to parliament

The futsal stadium issue has become political, with the Pheu Thai Party on Thursday accusing the tourism and sports minister and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) of causing damage to the country's reputation.

In the House of Representatives, Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok Jirayu Huangsap grilled Tourism and Sports Minister Chumphon Silpa-archa over the ministry's decision to give the BMA the responsibility to build the Bangkok Futsal Arena.

Fifa ruled this week the 12,000-seat stadium was not up to scratch and could not host matches during the 2012 Futsal World Cup now under way in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima because of concerns over the safety of players and spectators.

Mr Chumphon replied that the Football Association of Thailand, which is under his ministry, was responsible only for organising the competition, while the stadium's construction was a task for City Hall. The job division was based on a cabinet decision when Abhisit Vejjajiva was prime minister after Thailand won the right  to host the event.

The minister admitted the damage to the country's reputation.

Mr Abhisit told the House the BMA should be given a chance to defend itself. He said the construction of the stadium, in Nong Chok district, was an Fifa condition for the country to host the cup.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra on Wednesday insisted that the construction delays which led to Fifa's decision were due to the slow pace of budget allocation and the flooding last year.

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Writer: Manop Thip-Osod
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