The artificial turf in Changlimithang which was supposed to be ready by the end of this month is likely to be delayed by another month or perhaps more.
Consequentially the much-awaited football league will be further delayed for eager fans. The national football league otherwise is live-and-kicking by June or early July but this time due to the turf’s delay, the scheduled date for the tournament’s kick-off is uncertain.
Thimphu’s football fans say they do not enjoy the monsoon if they don’t get to see the local stars playing the league.
The General Secretary of Bhutan Football Federation said, “We were optimistic and waited to hold the league happen on the artificial turf but now it seems like Changlimithang will not be ready even next month”.
Under the given circumstances, the federation now plans to organize the league in the Royal Bhutan Police ground.
A local footballer said, “I waited eagerly for Changlimethang to be ready, to experience the sport on artificial turf. I’m disappointed to have to wait few months again”.
Talks are underway with the Police authority to hold the football tournament on their grounds. The league unlike previous years cannot be held in Changjiji ground as it is also under renovation.
The coordinator and the supervisor of Green Field, currently responsible for the works in Changlimethang, Amit Rai said, “The work has been delayed. But we hope we will get everything ready by the end of August. But we also cannot guarantee because of many reasons and on top of that it is monsoon. So we cannot guarantee anything as of now”.
He said there were many problems for not being able to meet the deadline. For one, getting materials like cement on time was a problem since the monsoon was a big hindrance and laborers couldn’t work properly in the beginning of the project because of the cold weather.
However all the required-materials have now arrived and only the technical work to lay the carpet and few turf works remain.
FIFA consultants have also inspected the work’s progress on 27 June and certified the work after verifications.
Amit Rai said one of the Futsal pitches will also be set-up in Changlimethang which was actually supposed to be in Changjiji.
“It was made clear to us to make of one of the two Futsal pitches here in Changlimethang as there was not much space for it in Changjiji football academy,” he said.
The project to construct the first artificial turf in Bhutan, sponsored by the FIFA has been tendered out directly by the FIFA to Green Field of India, which has developed artificial turf football grounds in places like Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata.