Malaysian football fans were disappointed after fewer tickets would be sold for the upcoming AFF Cup’s first leg semi-finals match between Malaysia and Thailand at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on 15 January.
According to The Vibes, 21,000 seats will be reserved for the stage structure setup for Jay Chou’s concert.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Noor Azman Rahman explained that this was done to avoid holding the match at a smaller stadium.
“The situation is inevitable. FAM and the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) have tried their best to find solutions to ensure the Harimau Malaya squad’s action throughout the AFF Cup, instead of it being held at other smaller capacity stadiums,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that the ticket prices would remain the same as group stage games, with open tickets prices at RM30, premium seats at RM50, grandstand tickets at RM60, and tickets for kids aged 6 to 12 at RM5.
“It is a mark of appreciation to Harimau Malaya supporters who have given solid support to the team throughout the AFF Cup campaign so far,” said Noor Azman.
However, this announcement received backlash from enthusiastic football fans who took to Jay Chou’s official Instagram page to request that he postpone his concert to allow them to utilise the entire stadium.
“Please delay your concert to another date.. because we all Malaysian want to support Malaysian football team this Saturday, and because of the preparation for your concert the quantity of ticket sells has been drop to only 59,000,” a netizen said.
Youth and Sports Minister responds
Responding to the negative emotions, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh explained that the installation of the stage at Bukit Jalil National Stadium had been booked by the organisers of a tour by famous Taiwanese artist Jay Chou since March 2019.
She added that it involved a large crew and hoped 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.”
“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,” she said, reported Bernama.
Meanwhile, Hannah said the situation would remain the same if Malaysia qualified for the final, with the second leg scheduled to take place on 16 January.
“The corporation (Perbadanan Stadium Malaysia) 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.”
“…because the most suitable location for FAM (Malaysian Football Association) is here (Bukit Jalil National Stadium) because there is public transportation and a large number of seats, and this is an unavoidable situation because the booking was made earlier,” she said.