Py­in­mana take Paung Laung fight to pres­i­dent

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

FOOT­BALL fans and com­mu­nity ac­tivists in Py­in­mana are look­ing for­ward to get­ting their play­ing field back. Af­ter years of protests and ef­fort, they may be about to re­take pos­ses­sion of Paung Laung Sta­dium.

Backed by the town’s elders, lo­cal Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Than Soe Aung has di­rectly ap­pealed to Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw to re­store the sta­dium, which was taken over by the pre­vi­ous govern­ment in 2011.

Former player Kyaw Min Han, who has been ac­tive in the restora­tion cam­paign, gave some con­text to the up­per-level en­treaty.

“Nay Pyi Taw coun­cil chair Dr Myo Aung sug­gested that we ap­peal di­rectly to the pres­i­dent af­ter about 200 town elders signed a pe­ti­tion,” he said.

The ac­tivists tried twice be­fore, un­der the Thein Sein ad­min­is­tra­tion, but with­out suc­cess. This will be their first ap­proach to the new govern­ment, and so far the most pro­pi­tious.

“I sub­mit­ted the pe­ti­tion on the Paung Laung Sta­dium case to the Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice, as well as those of the Nay Pyi Taw coun­cil chair and the Min­istry of Sport,” U Than Soe Aung told The Myan­mar Times in­side the Pyithu Hlut­taw on July 25. “All of the let­ters ar­rived, so we are wait­ing for a re­ply now.”

In 2011, then-sports min­is­ter U Tint San de­cided to rent the sta­dium to Nay Pyi Taw FC, which was owned by his son, Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, for 30 years at K3 mil­lion a month, with the first three years rent-free.

Nay Pyi Taw FC then ren­o­vated the sta­dium and changed the name to Nay Pyi Taw FC Sta­dium. At a cer­e­mony to re­open the sta­dium, Phyo Ko Ko Tint San promised that town­ship-level foot­ball matches would still be able to take place there.

But mem­bers of the com­mit­tee’s su­per­vi­sory com­mit­tee say they were never con­sulted over the deal, and af­ter it was signed lo­cal foot­ball teams were not al­lowed to play at the sta­dium.

The sta­dium was built in 1973 by a vol­un­tary al­liance of sol­diers, stu­dents and monks, and was pub­licly owned un­til the sport min­istry took it over. The towns­peo­ple have been try­ing to get it back ever since.

Nay Pyi Taw coun­cil agreed to re­store the sta­dium in April 2014, but no fol­low-up ac­tion was taken.

– Trans­la­tion by San Layy

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