Upcoming Jay Chou concert leaves 21,000 stadium seats empty for M'sia-Thailand football match

Jay Chou responded to this situation in his Instagram stories.

Hannah Martens | January 07, 2023, 10:28 AM

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21,000 seats at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium have been purposefully left vacant ahead of the semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup between Malaysia and Thailand.

The match is set for Jan. 7, but the seats had to remain empty due to the installation of an international-scale concert stage, explained Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Specifically, the stage for Jay Chou's Carnival World Tour 2023 concert.

Ongoing installation of the concert stage

In an interview with Bernama, Yeoh clarified that the venue had been booked by the organisers of Chou's tour since Mar. 2019, reported the Malay Mail.

The concert had been delayed for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is now scheduled for Jan. 15.

Yeoh added that the stage installation is unlike a normal stage tent as it involves a large crew, stated CNA.

"The installation work involves 14 days involving 500 crew members, as well as 185 international crew members entering Malaysia just for the setup. 45 heavy machinery, 200 speakers and 800 lights (are also involved)."

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said on Jan. 4 that the installation of the stage is still ongoing, so those 21,000 seats at the national stadium can not be utilised, Malay Mail reported.

Both events have a solid fan base in Malaysia, said Yeoh, and she hoped football fans could accept that it was impossible to change the situation at the stadium.

"We want to give all the support to Harimau Malaya (Malaysian national football team), as well as the concert that has been booked earlier," stated Yeoh.

Yeoh also tweeted that the installation was already delayed by two and a half days.

According to CNA, during the match between Singapore and Malaysia on Jan. 3, those 21,000 seats were also left vacant.

Malaysia beat Singapore 4-1 to advance in that match.

First come, first serve

Netizens have expressed their unhappiness with their situation on social media as football fans criticised this arrangement.

Chou's fans defended the singer, saying it was not his fault and that Chou's concert booked the venue first.

Others have stated that the stadium should prioritise the football match over the concert and put the national team first.

Arrangement will be the same if Malaysia qualifies for the finals

According to Malay Mail, Yeoh said the situation would not change if Malaysia qualifies for the finals.

The AFF cup final is scheduled to take place on Jan. 16.

"The corporation (Perbadanan Stadium Malaysia) has made an effort to plan on how to cater for everyone... so that (final) will continue, but in the current situation, where the areas will be blocked off."

Yeoh shared that the Bukit Jalil National Stadium was the "most suitable location for FAM" due to the access to public transportation and the large number of seats that now cannot be used.

"This is an unavoidable situation because the booking was made earlier," she said.

Jay Chou speaks out

The singer himself responded to the situation in two Instagram stories.

Photos from Jay Chou's Instagram

Chou's message translates to:

"Malaysian football fans, I know how much importance you place on football. I don’t have any issues with pushing my concert to a later time. More importantly, ask the organiser or the venue [management] if they can allow me to start and end the concert late. It’s not a problem for me, I’m fine as long as I can sing for my fans. I hope that those who come to watch my concert can do so with a happy [heart]."

Top photos from Google Maps and Facebook.