THE 21,000 seats at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium had to remain vacant for the first leg of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup 2022 semi-final game between Malaysia and Thailand this Saturday due to the installation of an international-scale concert stage.
According to Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh the installation of the stage at the venue – which had been booked by the organisers of a tour by renowned Taiwanese artiste Jay Chou since 2019 – further involved a large crew.
On this matter, Yeoh expressed hopes that football fans could accept the fact that it was impossible to change the situation at the stadium.
“I have received an explanation (that) this installation work involves 14 days involving 500 crew members, as well as 185 international crew members entering Malaysia just for the setup. 45 heavy machinery, 200 speakers and 800 lights (are also involved). So, it is not like a normal stage tent that we can install (or) open at will,” she was reported as saying by Bernama last night.
“So, both events have a strong fan base. We want to give all the support to Harimau Malaya this Saturday, as well as the concert that has been booked earlier.”
Earlier this week Malaysian Football Association (FAM) secretary-general Noor Azman Rahman revealed that 21,000 seats at the national stadium could not be utilised due to the installation of the stage, which was still ongoing.
The vacancy of 21,000 seats received backlash from football fans in the country who took to social media to bemoan the fact that they were unable to purchase tickets to the highly-anticipated match this Saturday.
This has also led to Harimau Malaya fans training their guns at the King of Mandopop Jay Chou, with some netizens even wanting the concert to be cancelled as Malaysians want the stadium to be full for the first leg of the match.
Meanwhile, Yeoh noted that the situation would remain the same if Malaysia qualified for the final, with the second leg scheduled to take place on January 16.
“The corporation (Malaysia Stadium Board) has made an effort to plan on how to cater for everyone… so that (final) will continue, but in the current situation, where the areas will be blocked off,” she explained.
“…because the most suitable location for FAM is here (Bukit Jalil National Stadium) as there is public transportation and a large number of seats, and this is an unavoidable situation because the booking was made earlier.”
Jay Chou’s Carnival World concert is scheduled to take place on January 15. – Jan 6, 2023
Main pic credit: Bernama