ZURICH (Reuters) - The Futsal World Cup in Thailand descended into chaos on Tuesday as FIFA said the tournament’s showpiece arena, due to host the final among other games, would not be ready in time to stage any matches.
The announcement came with the indoor tournament’s group stage already under way and only eight days before the Bangkok Futsal Arena, which has been dogged by delays during construction, was due to host its first games - two quarter-final ties.
The ties will be played at alternative venues in Bangkok, FIFA said as soccer’s world governing body was left to deal with another crisis in the game.
“Although further significant progress has been made, including the installation of a pitch, the key criteria laid out on October 31...have not been sufficiently met,” FIFA said in a statement.
”The safety of spectators, teams and all other visitors to the stadium are of paramount importance.
“FIFA and the Local Organising Committee therefore concluded that such a fundamental issue, as well as the functionality of core services and facilities, cannot be compromised.”
FIFA said the quarter-final matches scheduled to be played on November 14 would now be played at Bangkok’s Nimibutr Stadium, while the semi-finals and final would be hosted at Bangkok’s Indoor Stadium Huamark.
Both stadiums have already successfully hosted group stage matches.
The Bangkok Futsal Arena has also been criticised for being badly located and difficult to get to.
Twenty-four teams are taking part in the four-yearly event of the smaller indoor version of soccer.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Mark Meadows