El Barça jugarà finalment al Shah Alam Stadium / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The match between Barça and the all-star Malaysia XI team will be hosted in a different venue. Due to the poor state of the pitch at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, the organisers and FC Barcelona executives agreed to move the match to Shah Alam Stadium.

The team trained this Friday evening at Bukit Jalil, the venue which was initially selected to host tomorrow’s match against the Malaysia XI team. During the session, however, it became evident that the pitch wasn’t in ideal condition for tomorrow's friendly. After the session, sporting vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta attended a meeting in which the decision was made to move the match to Shah Alam Stadium.

Shah Alam Stadium can host up to 69,000 spectators, and it’s the venue where Barça trained on Thursday afternoon. Barça will also train at Shah Alam tomorrow morning before the match. As of now, 40,000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow’s match; an additional 10,000 to 12,000 more tickets are expected to be sold before kick off.

Contingency in place

After the meeting between Bartomeu, Zubizarreta and the match promoters, the FC Barcelona vice-president explained the reasoning behind the decision to move the match to Shah Alam Stadium. “We found that the pitch does not meet the necessary conditions, we could not compromise the wellbeing of our players,” he said to the press. In addition, the Barça executive noted that the contract, “which was signed in February,” included the possibility to change the venue of the friendly in the event that “the pitch was in poor condition.” He added: “Club executives have visited the stadium on four occasions since February, and on each occasion we cautioned that the condition of the pitch needed to be improved.”

Bartomeu went on to explain that “we’ve executed the agreement we had, to play at Shah Alam, but it wasn’t a negotiation, it was a conversation.” The Barça vice-president also confirmed that the decision to move tomorrow’s friendly to a new venue was communicated to the coaching staff and the captains, and that “they were in agreement” with the decision. Lastly, Bartomeu stressed that the Club’s assessment of the Peace Tour and the 2013 Asia Tour has been “very positive.”

Special thanks to the match promoters

FC Barcelona vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, expressed his gratitude to the match promoters for their effort to make sure tomorrow’s friendly is played in the best possible conditions. In addition, FC Barcelona want to please its fans in Malaysia and want to offer up a good spectacle as a show of gratitude for the affection shown by the culé community of the country.

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