The nation’s soccer community voiced its opposition yesterday to a plan by the Taipei City Government to convert the country’s only dedicated soccer stadium into a permanent exhibition hall after the conclusion of the Taipei International Flora Exposition.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) and representatives of local soccer groups said the city government should keep its promise to restore the stadium to its original use after the Flora Expo, to be held from Nov. 6 to April 25.
They said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised two years ago that the stadium would be closed only “temporarily” to serve as a venue for an indoor floral design competitions and special exhibits during the Flora Expo.
However, the city government and the Ministry of Economic Affairs now plan to permanently convert the stadium and the surrounding area into a display center for top quality products from Taiwan, Wu said.
“It is really sad for soccer fans that the Zhongshan Soccer Stadium will no longer function as a sports facility because of the Flora Expo,” said Chang Yao-ming (張耀明), a former soccer player who now coaches a soccer team for the Shilin Sports Federation.
Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典), founder of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital Football Association, also stressed that Zhongshan Soccer Stadium is the only stadium in the country designed specifically for soccer and approved by FIFA for international matches.
“If it is demolished, soccer matches will have to be held at non-soccer stadiums, such as the Kaohsiung Stadium or Taipei Stadium,” Kuo said at a press conference hosted by Wu. “Soccer will therefore have to share limited space with other sports.”
The city government said that it has planned supplementary measures to deal with the issue.
Wang San-chung (王三中), chief secretary of the city government’s Department of Economic Development, said that more soccer fields will be built for the city’s schools with soccer teams.
He also suggested that Yin Feng Sports Park, Bailing Sports Park and Taipei Stadium could all be used for soccer matches.
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