Goal summarises the controversies surrounding the recent Barcelona - Malaysia XI exhibition match
FC Barcelona came, played the Malaysia national team, and left football fans and the country's media grumbling. The problem began right after the training session held at Bukit Jalil when the venue for the match was changed at the very last minute to the Shah Alam Stadium, due to the unsatisfactory condition of the Bukit Jalil pitch. It was rumoured that the condition of the pitch was not taken into account by the organisers; BSC Soccer. The change of venue then resulted in a cascade of complications on the following day during the actual match.
First of all, a number of fans who had purchased the RM688 ticket to the match for the grandstand seats were shut out of the section due to the fact that the grand stand section of the Shah Alam Stadium is not similar to that of Bukit Jalil's.
The organiser of the match, BSC Soccer had also infuriated the local media when it was discovered that the media seats that were closer to the field had been reserved strictly for foreign press, whereas the local reporters were made to sit in the upper rows. To compound the ire, the local media was later barred from interviewing the players after the match, and a local sports news portal journalist claimed to have been manhandled by the private security hired by BSC Soccer, who were reported to have engaged in thuggish behaviours.
And even worse, Goal's Player of the Year Lionel Messi was not even fielded in the match.
Even the Sports and Youth Minister; Khairy Jamaluddin took the chance to lambast BSC Soccer and the Football Assiocation of Malaysia (FAM) for bringing Malaysian football into disrepute, after the match.
Managing Director of BSC Soccer Effendi Jagan Abdullah apologised for the mess and requested for some time to get to the bottom of the incident. However, whatever actions that will be taken by them, it is doubtful that they will ever appease the slighted fans and the media. It seems that BSC had better look into branching out into organising pop concerts in the future.
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