City Hall yesterday renamed the troubled Bangkok Futsal Arena as "Bangkok Arena Nong Chok", and put on an inspection tour _ but hardly any invited officials came.
The Department of Special Investigation’s deputy chief Yanaphon Youngyuen, right, is accompanied by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s deputy permanent secretary Jumpol Sumpaopol on an inspection of the newly-renamed Bangkok Arena Nong Chok yesterday. There were several notable absences at the inspection, with only three of the nine invited agencies showing up. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) spokesman Wasan Meewong announced the name change during the BMA-organised stadium inspection.
The BMA invited representatives from nine state agencies to inspect the stadium, but only three showed up.
The handling of the stadium's construction has come under attack after Fifa refused to use the 1.2-billion-baht arena for the 2012 Futsal World Cup, which ended on Sunday.
Pheu Thai MPs, including Jirayu Huangsap, who earlier petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to look into alleged irregularities in the building of the stadium, did not attend the inspection, nor did the NACC secretary-general.
Only representatives from the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Office of the Auditor-General and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) joined city administrators to inspect the stadium.
World football's governing body, Fifa, said safety concerns were behind the decision not to use the stadium for the Futsal World Cup.
"We admit the stadium is not 100% completed," Mr Wasan said. "But it was ready to be used for the competition."
The BMA invited the nine agencies and legislators to the stadium to clarify the allegations of corruption.
Many MPs are interested in how the stadium's budget was spent, but did not come to get the information first-hand, Mr Wasan said. "I think they already understand the facts," he said.
Other notable absentees included representatives from the Senate committee on sports, the House committee on tourism and sports, the Football Association of Thailand, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Comptroller-General's Department.
City Hall earlier claimed that severe flooding late last year slowed the construction of the 12,000-seat arena.
However, several Pheu Thai MPs have questioned the construction delay and asked the NACC to examine Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra and other city authorities. They said several irregularities have come to light which need to be clarified, including the hiring of a private firm to build the stadium.
The DSI has not yet been asked to look into the allegations, but the City Hall-organised inspection yesterday reflected its attempt to be transparent, deputy DSI chief Yanaphon Youngyuen said. No major problems were evident on the tour, he said.
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- Writer: Supoj Wancharoen