Monday, August 12, 2013

So Messy, no Mercy and no Messi...

By Ajitpal Singh |   

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.
   As it turned out, the media and fans were short-changed as the organiser did not deliver what they had promised.
  The media had received an invite for an interview with two Barcelona players after their training session at the mixed zone on Friday but were rudely told off by the security.
   A security officer also challenged two journalists to a fight for not following instructions before the press conference on Saturday, while there were also incidents of security personnel squaring off with fans at the stadium. senior journalist Vijhay Vick alleged he was manhandled by a security officer, hired by the organiser, after the press conference following a tiff.
   "He told me if I was still unhappy, we could settle it outside and later threatened to slam his walkie-talkie onto my head.
   "My colleague stopped him from hitting me.
   "I did not want to respond further and left.
   "It all started when I tried to head for the press conference but despite having a valid accreditation, the security man did not want to allow me in.
  "It was only after I had pointed out to him that our passes had access that he allowed us through.
   "I thought the matter was settled but I was wrong as, after that, another security officer tried to create a fuss," said the visibly-shaken Vijhay.
   VIP tickets holders were also left stranded as the decision to move the match backfired as many of them were not allowed into the designated section.
   Effendi said: "We will have a post-mortem and I urge those unhappy to give us feedback, especially journalists, who had a bad experience with the security.
   "The security acted on instructions from Barcelona.
   "They were only following orders but, of course, the officer should not have behaved in such a manner towards journalists."
   On why Lionel Messi did not play on Saturday, Effendi said the Argentine was carrying an injury.
   "He had a thigh strain and Barcelona did not want to play him as the Spanish League starts soon.
   "Some fans were disappointed as many of them had wanted to watch him play."