The stadium may no longer be approved by AFC to hold Asian-level football matches in the future.
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The Bukit Jalil National Stadium may not host any Asian-level football matches in the foreseeable future if the pitch is not upgraded immediately, reported Berita Harian.
This is after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had hinted that it may impose ‘restrictions’ on the stadium in the aftermath of the ‘Malaysia vs Bahrain’ game in the Asian Cup Qualifiers third-round Group E match which saw both teams play on a rain-soaked pitch last Saturday.
The matter was confirmed by AFC Secretary-General Datuk Seri Windsor Paul John who admits his disappointment with the poor condition of the national stadium’s field.
“We are shocked to see the condition of the field and do not want to blame the rain. The owners of the place need to be more prepared and this is not the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) responsibility.
“Furthermore, we are disappointed with the condition of the field which is still not being fixed as well as the use of unsuitable tools to dispose of (stagnant) water on the field.
“I think if the condition of the Bukit Jalil National Stadium pitch continues like this, the AFC will not allow for more matches to be played at the stadium,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay daily.
Last Saturday, the Malayan Tigers faced Bahrain in its bid to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time on merit since 1980. Malaysia lost the game 1-2 despite taking a one-goal lead.
However, the game was played in a water-logged field as there was a heavy downpour prior to kickoff.
Before the match, several stadium staff were seen pushing the water ‘manually’ using shovels and cardboard, enraging fans and officials alike, and brought into question the stadium’s drainage system.
The incident had since gone viral over social media with netizens describing the surface of the field at the national stadium as akin to a ‘paddy field’.
Meanwhile, the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) chief executive officer Mohd Faidz Sanusi said that it had advised for the game to be postponed for 30 minutes to allow for the drainage system to properly drain all the stagnant water on the pitch.
He however agreed that the use of unsuitable tools by the stadium staff to remove the stagnant water from the pitch only further damaged the field’s surface.