PHUKET CITY: Some training fields may lack toilets and dressing rooms, and the upgrade of Phuket’s Surakul Stadium has been delayed by rain. But John Schumacher, chief media officer of the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa), said yesterday he expects the final rounds of the Fifa U-19 Women’s World Championship 2004, to be played in Thailand in November, will be a “great success”. Mr Schumacher arrived in Thailand on June 6 with three other representatives from international soccer’s ruling body to inspect the sports facilities in Thailand to be used during the event, from November 10 to 27 “This is the first chance we have had to do a full inspection tour of the stadiums in Thailand since November last year,” Mr Schumacher said. “During this time it is important for us to inspect all the facilities. We are not in a position just yet to identify individual points that need improving, but once we get back to Zurich, we will be able to coalesce all of the information we have gone through. “So it’s not a question of whether we can say ‘yes’ to this and ‘no’ to that. It’s part of the process; there are always things to improve,” he said. “One of the things we are very happy with is the cooperation with the LOC [Local Organizing Commitee],” he added. “All the people here are very welcoming and very helpful.” He said he was pleased to encounter “the passion and the excitement of Thai people” for the coming tournament. “No doubt it is going to be a great success,” he added. Eam Thavornvongwongse, Deputy Chairman of the Phuket Sports Association, said, “The budget and all responsibility for the reconstruction of the stadium has been handed over to the Sports Authority of Thailand in Bangkok (SAT), which is a good thing because we have limited time to complete everything by the end of September.” K. Eam added, “All departments are working well together. They cannot confirm how complete the upgrade is, but they believe that Surakul Stadium will be ready in time.” Fifa will send another inspection delegation sometime around October, K. Eam explained. “The main obstacle to the reconstruction of Surakul Stadium now is the rain. But after the five-a-side 2nd Surakul Cup soccer tournament at the middle of this month, the stadium will be closed and upgrading will recommence,” he said. Responding to the problem that some training fields to be used – at Karon Stadium, Sanaam Chai in Phuket City, Rajabhat Institute Phuket and Saphan Hin – lack toilets and dressing rooms, he said, “FIFA is not strict on this point because players can use facilities nearby.” The Fifa delegation inspected the Chiang Mai 700th Anniversary Stadium before coming to Phuket. They flew to Bangkok yesterday to inspect the other two tournament venues – the Rajamangala National Stadium and the Suphachalasai Stadium – and will leave for Zurich on Saturday.
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