The much awaited artificial football turf is now ready and was officially inaugurated on the 15th of December. The ground was inaugurated by HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Gyaltshab and the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
The ground was inaugurated in a traditional marchang ceremony where delegates from FIFA and government officials were present. During the opening, an exhibition match between staff and officials from the Bhutan Olympic Committee and the National Sports Federations played against Zimdra FC’s veteran team, Young Hearts.
“Quality sports facilities are the foundation for the development of a vibrant value based sporting culture in Bhutan. They are a crucial prerequisite for the successful integration of sports and society. We hope that with the opening of the new astro turf grounds in the Changlingmethang National Stadium, all football enthusiasts in Bhutan will have access to a world-class football field and lead to the promotion of the game in the nation” said Sonam Karma Tshering, Secretary General of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
‘We must thank the relationship that the FIFA and Bhutan Football Federation have developed over the years for this ground; although the older generation never really got to play on a field like this I hope the younger generation make good use of the astro turf eventually promoting the sport of football in the country’ said Ugyen Dorji, who is currently the Estate Manager of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
Although the ground will be open to the general public only from the 18th of December onwards, the National league kick started right after the inauguration on the 15th with Ugyen Academy, a newly promoted side playing against the experienced Drukpol FC. Ugyen Academy lost to Drukpol 2-1 after the 90th minute whistle.
This year the league we will see six teams from Chukha, Samtse, Punakha and Thimphu participating in the Coca-Cola National League.
The management of the ground will be under the Bhutan Football Federation and the booking charges of the field is as follows;
Nu. 2000 (10 am – 2pm)
Nu. 3000 (3pm onwards without floodlight)
Nu. 5000 (Under floodlight)
+Nu. 1000 on the above mentioned rates.
*3 officials will be provided by the Bhutan Football Federation
Also, schools and institutions can book the field for Nu. 2000 without referees and floodlight.
Football enthusiasts can also book the mini pitch right next to the full (11 a side) sized pitch at the Changlingmethang Stadium which is meant for 7 a side game. Similar artificial turfs will be seen at the Changjiji stadium as well which is to be completed early next year. The total project cost for the laying of the astro-turf of the Changlingmethang was USD 900,000 and was entirely paid by FIFA.