Jay Chou concert postponed to keep National Stadium field ready for Suzuki Cup

Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's concert at the National Stadium on Nov 8 has been postponed till Dec 27 to give the much-maligned field some respite, before the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup kicks off on Nov 23. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's concert at the National Stadium on Nov 8 has been postponed till Dec 27 to give the much-maligned field some respite, before the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup kicks off on Nov 23. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's concert at the National Stadium on Nov 8 has been postponed till Dec 27 to give the much-maligned field some respite, before the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup kicks off on Nov 23.

In a statement released on Friday evening, Singapore Sports Hub chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik said: "As we now begin to look forward to the AFF Suzuki Cup next month, we have had to make some difficult decisions to ensure this regional competition has the best chance for success with regards to the quality of the National Stadium pitch."

Fans with tickets for the sold-out concert can use them on the new date. Those seeking refunds are advised to call the Sports Hub Tix hotline at 6333 5000 or 3158 7888. Refund requests are to be made by 8pm on Nov 9.

At the heart of the issue is AFF's regulation that stadiums should not be used for any other matches or events for a minimum of 15 working days prior to the AFF Cup's first match, in order to ensure that the hybrid turf is in good condition. The biennial regional championship is slated to kick off with a Singapore vs Thailand clash.

Meanwhile, the status of an exhibition rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and Asia Pacific Dragons on Nov 15 remains unclear. Even if the game is cancelled, it is understood that the Maori outfit is committed to come here and conduct a workshop at the very least.

Pop diva Mariah Carey will perform in a concert as planned at the new Kallang facility next Friday, albeit with the stage re-positioned. Patrons affected have the option of a full refund or re-allocation of their seats, along with a $10 food and beverages voucher.

As for the AFF Cup, a decision is expected next week on whether it remains at the National Stadium, or is switched to an alternative local venue or a different country altogether.

The pitch - made of natural grass reinforced with artificial fibre inserts - has taken plenty of flak for its sandy condition, particularly after a worldwide audience tuned in for Tuesday's international football friendly between Brazil and Japan.

Sports Hub officials insist the field will be in better shape next month after the recent purchase of $1.5 million growth lights, which are kept on through the night to act like sunlight.