Delayed stadium expected to be ready for final inspection

Souvenir mascots have also run behind schedule and only a limited numbers will be available

With only five days to go before the 2012 Futsal World Cup kicks off, the Bangkok Futsal Arena is not yet complete, while the souvenir mascots will be rolled out on Monday.

Physical Education Department chief Sangchan Worasuman inspects Nimitbutr Gymnasium yesterday. PHOTO: TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

The Bangkok Futsal Arena in Nong Chok district is expected to be ready for Fifa's final inspection on Monday. The stadium was to be the main venue for the Nov 1-18 World Cup and host games from the first round. But construction delays forced Fifa to switch the opening ceremony to Hua Mark Indoor Stadium and first-and second-round matches from the Nong Chok arena to other venues.

The stadium will now host matches from the quarter-finals - if it is complete in time. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), which is responsible for the contruction, is confident that the stadium will be approved by Fifa.

The other venues are Bangkok's Nimitbutr Gymnasium and Nakhon Ratchasima's Chatchai Hall.

Meanwhile, the souvenir mascots, made by FBT Sporting Goods Co, are expected to be ready on Monday, officials said yesterday.

The company has only two months to produce the elephant mascot dolls because of Fifa's high standard.

There will be only 2,000 pieces each of 12-inch and six-inch high mascots.

Members of the public can order the dolls on 02-934-4248 and 081-860-4918 or at the competition venues from Nov 1.

Meanwhile, Nimibutr Gymnasium is ready for the World Cup, officials said.

Sangchan Worasuman, director-general of the Physical Education Department, inspected the gymnasium along with Tourism and Sports Minister spokesman Watchara Kannikar yesterday.

Mrs Sangchan said: "Nimibutr Gymnasium is now 100 percent ready for the Fifa Futsal World Cup. Fifa representatives inspected the gymnasium a few days ago and they told us to improve some facilities and we have already done it."

The venue will host 12 matches in the first round and two matches in the last 16 round.

At the World Cup, Thailand are in Group A with Ukraine, Paraguay and Costa Rica. The top two teams from each of the six groups and four best third-placed sides advance to the knockout stages.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, centre, and Thai FA boss Wowari Makudi pose with the mascot of the 2012 Futsal World Cup.

About the author

Writer: Tor Chittinand
Position: Reporter