It was a nightmare for us, says organiser

WHAT A LETDOWN: Venue changed at last minute to accommodate team’s request.

KUALA LUMPUR: BSC Soccer Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the organiser of the exhibition match between Malaysia and Barcelona, has apologised for the logistical mess following the last-minute decision to shift the match to Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.

The match was moved to Shah Alam upon request by the Spanish champion who was unhappy with the state of the poor pitch at the National Stadium on Friday.

“Barcelona did not want to play at National Stadium as a player got injured during the open training session.

“It stated its concerns and we accommodated them.

“The team would have packed its bags and gone home if we had not complied,” said BSC managing director Effendi Jagan Abdullah yesterday.

“We had only a few hours to work on the logistical matters and, of course, there were some gray areas that could not be avoided.

“It was a nightmare for us as we had to rush everything. Now, I foresee a backlash, but I hope those concerned will understand.

“I must thank the Football Association of Malaysia and the Shah Alam City Municipal Council for helping in shifting the match.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, upset with the poor organisation of the match, said the organiser messed up ground operations on match day.

“The media and fans were treated like pariahs by Barcelona. The organiser poorly advised the FA of Malaysia and Barcelona on ground selection.

“It probably wanted to maximise ticket sales at the expense of the pitch condition.

“FAM should have known better. The national body should have standard operating procedures for event organisers bringing top teams so that Malaysia (the national team, press and fans) get maximum value from such tours,” said Khairy on his Twitter account.

by  Ajitpal Singh

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