KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is perplexed at the action of other football clubs in the country who refuse to switch to the use of the ‘Zeon Zoysia’ type of grass for their stadium pitches and citing its high cost of maintenance as an excuse.

Tunku Ismail said that it doesn’t make sense for football clubs to use that as an excuse considering about RM300,000 is needed to maintain this type of grass pitch annually.

“To me, it’s not an excuse because the smallest allocation in the Super League today is RM8 million (per year) per team. The cost of maintaining the pitch is not more than RM300,000, so where is the logic that teams cannot maintain the field? There are clubs getting allocations of tens of millions of ringgit from state governments, can’t they maintain the fields?

“Maybe they know nothing about football, are not really keen on the sport or have a long-term agenda because if you look at countries where football is developed, they all give priority to their football fields because it reflects good club management,” Tunku Ismail said.

Tunku Ismail, who is also the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), said this at a media conference after gracing the ceremony to officiate the project to replace the grass pitch at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil to the zeon zoysia type, here, today.

“Now is the time for change. How much longer are we going to be like this? The initiative taken by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) in offering to upgrade fields in every stadium in the country is a good one and should be welcomed by other clubs,” he said.

Last week, the KBS offered allocations through matching grants to all state Youth and Sports Committee chairmen to upgrade selected football pitches with the zeon zoysia grass.

Hannah said the offer was made during the first ministry meeting with state excos in January and is now awaiting their feedback, which is expected to be presented at the upcoming second meeting. - Bernama

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