Update on the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup

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Here is a great update written by Thai writer Adisak Benjasiriwan on the state of preparations for the upcoming 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand.

 

 

2012 Futsal World Cup – Adisak Benjasiriwan about the state of preparation: Courtesy of thai-fussball.de

 

Saturday, April 16 2011

In November 2012 Thailand is going to host the 7th FIFA Futsal World Cup. Not least, this is one of the reasons why we are regularly reporting about the events and current development of Thai Futsal.

At the beginning of April we have met with Adisak Benjasiriwan, the Chairman of the Thai Futsal Committee, to find out what’s the actual state of preparations for next years FIFA Futsal World Cup. Khun Adisak’s roots are in the Chonburi province and he has studied at the University of Dallas. Beside his other duties he is the person responsible for development of Futsal in Thailand, he is also Chairman of the Rattana Bundit Football Club.

Right at the beginning of our conversation with Khun Adisak, to our surprise and disappointment, we had to learn that Chiang Mai has withdrawn as one of the cities to host the tournament. Therefore Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Suphanburi, Phuket and Songkhla remain.

At the beginning of April all venues were visited by a group of FIFA inspectors. Currently there are only three venues which meet the requirements: two arenas in Bangkok (Hua Mak and Nimibutr Gymnasium) and one in Nakhon Ratchasima. The venues in Suphanburi and Phuket need to be be renovated. In Songkhla a new Arena must be build. Construction and renovation cost for the arenas as well as the as the construction of the necessary infrastructure falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces. After the recent floods in the south of Thailand it’s questionable whether Songkhla is able and willing to finance such a project. A final decision about the venues and hosting cities is expected to be made after another FIFA inspection in September.

With no doubt, the biggest project to be build for the World Cup will be a new Arena in the east of Bangkok in Nong Chok. When finished it should hold up to 12,000 spectators. A total of 1.3 Billion Baht are provided by Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA). 300 millions are allocated for the venue, while the remaining money is scheduled to improve the current infrastructure. The plan is to build marked-out routes for two new fast track bus-lines connecting the sports complex with the airport and Minburi.

BMA’s idea is to use the new venue as well as the ones from Thammasat and Ramkhamhaeng University for other big events after the championship. However the huge area is hardly settled around the sports complex, fields dominating rather than a village landscape.

Therefore, the plan is to originate new villages around the sports complex later on, similarly maybe to the Munich Olympic complex. Moreover, there are considerations to build a new campus for the Bangkok Metroplitan University in Nong Chok. The King Mongkut Institue of Technology will be responsible for the architecture of the new Indoor Arena. The construction is scheduled to begin in August 2011 and will last up to 14 months.

thai-fussball.de: How does it came Chiang Mai has withdrawn and how is the state of the preparations in the other cities?
Khun Adisak: Provincial governments are responsible to supply the budgets for venues and infrastructure and the government in Chiang Mai did not want to support it. After our internal inspection we came to the result that, apart from Bangkok, only the stadium in Nakhon Ratchasima meets the requirements. In Songkhla a new Arena must be build. There is a new stadium in Phuket, though the venue is a bit too small, and must be reconstructed as well as the arena in Suphanburi. However, at the end FIFA decides where the matches will be played.

Regarding the tournament itself, a large part of the budget is provided by the FIFA. In addition to international sponsors there will be a group of sponsors from local companies. The Thai government will provide budget for security, logistics, IT etc.

thai-fussball.de: I heard that marked-out routes are in plans for cars to Nong Chok.
Khun Adisak: Not for the time of the World Championship, but afterwards yes it is planned. For the World Championship there will be some sort of a Park + Ride system where the visitors are to be transport with coaches on a fast track bus-line to Nong Chok.

thai-fussball.de: How are the plans look like to promote the tournament in Thailand and to gain the interest of the locals?
Khun Adisak: Officially we will kick off our promotion campaign in June 2011. Thai FA president Worawi Makudi tries to win Pele and Franz Beckenbauer for the opening event as guests of honour. In addition there should be a game between Thailand and Spain or Brazil. In the last week of June we plan a match between the Thai National team and a World All Star selection. Currently we try to win Cesc Fabregas for this match. He used to play Futsal earlier in his career.

Then we will have the Bangkok Intercontinental Cup from 24th of August – 4th of September with 6 teams. Beside Thailand, other nations to enter the tournament are Iran, Japan, Argentine, Italy and Spain.

As last a 3-day event which we call “Midnight Futsal” is planned by the end of the year. This shall take place on Sanam Luang (between the Grand Palace and the Khao San Road). Our plan is that 1000 teams from all over Thailand compete each other.

Everybody can take part who has a desire to play Futsal. It will played from morning to midnight and, besides, this will be a gigantic festival with music. Further events are planned for next year which should help us to promote the World Cup. All this will be done under the slogan “Road to Futsal World Cup 2012”

thai-fussball.de: Are there also some special events planned for children?
Khun Adisak: Yes, of course. Should Cesc Fabregas come, he could train with kids. Not only he also other stars of Futsal. Moreover, in close collaboration with the BMA we have brought to life a project for schools in Bangkok. The aim of the project is that Futsal will become a part of the educational programme in schools. We will provide teaching material and hand them out to schools.

thai-fussball.de: Can you already say something about the qualification matches and when the draw for the proper tournament will be made?
Khun Adisak: I am sorry but regarding the qualification matches I can’t say something. The only thing I know is that the qualification rounds in Asia are to be start in May. The draw for the final tournament normally takes place approx. 4 months ahead of the competition. Should be in June 2012 then. The draw will be in Bangkok. If the new Arena is ready till then, the draw would take place there of course.

thai-fussball.de: In which range we have to expect ticket prices and is there anything concrete about television broadcast?
Khun Adisak: Regarding the TV broadcast, that’s a matter of FIFA. In this respect it cannot be said yet who will be responsible for the broadcast and who will televise the matches on TV in Thailand.

Of course we have to discuss the ticket prices with FIFA and of course they will be adapted to the relations here. For the AFC Futsal Championships the ticket was about 100-300 Baht. Admission fee for Thai Futsal League is 50 Baht. So substantially it is expected not be more than this for the World Championship.

thai-fussball.de: How was the cooperation with the authorities so far?
Khun Adisak: Up to now we are very contented, even if execution of concepts sometimes lasts a little bit. Everybody knows what it is about and try to solve her duties accordingly.

thai-fussball.de: In which areas do you still see problems?
Khun Adisak: For sure there will be problems. But the most important one is to keep the schedule. Therefore we do need a good management. We would like to organise the best Futsal World Cup of all times.

thai-fussball.de: Finally one more question regarding the Thai Futsal League. The league has been extended and also now there are more teams from the provinces in the league. Can we expect matches to be played outside of Bangkok?
Khun Adisak: Yes. If a team wants to play at home, they can do this now. However, the rest of the games will still take place in Bangkok as usual. Moreover, we want to introduce this year a sort of provincial league. This competition should last 4-6 months.

thai-fussball.de: Khun Adisak, thank you very much for time and the interview.

In any case the planned tournaments during the promotion phase sound promising and the events seems to become a tidbit for Futsal fans.
Beside many visitors will come to Thailand next year to follow the FIFA Fustal World Championship, the improvements of infrastructures might probably be the biggest long-term benefit for Thailand.

From a sporty point of view the measures in case of youth development can be promising in a long run not only for Futsal but also for football. Remains to be hope that by a bigger interest from the children a youth league system can be established for Futsal and football sustainable.

For the first time 24 teams are going to participate the World Cup. And thats how the allocation between the continental associations look like: AFC 5 (Thailand included), Africa 3 (+1), Southamerica 4 (+1), Middle -and Northamerica 4 (+1), OFC 1, UEFA 7 (+1).

During our research we didn’t found that much information concerning the Futsal World Cup and it’s qualification tournaments. In January the African qualification should take place in Angola but probably was just a hoax. OFC Futsal Championships in May will serve as qualification for the Oceanic Federation.

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