Friday, May 6, 2011

Fend for yourself

Fend for yourself
Football teams can get help from private sector
Thursday, May 5th, 2011 06:53:00
PUTRAJAYA: Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek hit the right note by indirectly throwing a challenge to local football teams to manage their own stadiums.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek

Despite their success in the past, big teams like Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan rent stadiums from the local councils for their home matches.
However, Johor FC are the only team in the Super League to own and maintain the JCorp Stadium in Johor Bahru.

Sadly, most stadiums and sports facilities built by the government are poorly maintained as evident by the plastered courts at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, the delay of the re-turfing works at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil and the leaking roof at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Even football fields managed by the local councils, including Selayang Stadium and PJ Stadium, suffer the same fate.

"Let's face facts, when the government tightens the budget sports will be the first to suffer. The government will need money to focus on other pressing matters like health care and education. It is high time that we stop expecting grants and funds from the government.

"This is where the private sector can help. Look at Arsenal's home venue the Emirates Stadium. It's sponsored by a Middle Eastern airline company. We should be looking at that direction so that teams can then generate income from such facilities," added Ahmad Shabery.

Ahmad Shabery added that golf courses in the country are good examples as most are run privately and offer excellent services to enthusiasts.

He was met after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the Sports Industry website at the Prime Minister's Department yesterday.

Also present were deputy sports minister Gan Ping Sieu and Group chief executive officer of Redberry Datuk Siew Ka Wei. Seven corporations are involved in the Malaysian Sports Industry Partnership Programme (PRISMA) for the Sports Industry Year 2011/2012 to be launched on July 27.

The companies are Redberry, Telekom Malaysia, Westports Malaysia, Media Prima, The Mines, Berjaya Hotels and Nestle.

The sports industry in Malaysia generated RM30.2 billion towards the country's 2009 Gross Domestic Product, with total export and import valued at RM836.1 million and RM812.2 million respectively.

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