SINGAPORE: Chua Chu Kang Town Council’s (CCKTC) defence of the hefty $130 charges for residents to be able to play street soccer at a community futsal pitch has sparked continued outrage among Singaporeans, despite a ruling party parliamentarian’s bid to strike a compromise with disgruntled residents.
Those who wish to play street soccer at the futsal pitch at The Arena @ Keat Hong are required to fork out a $100 refundable deposit and a $30 fee for an hour of play.
Some street soccer players told the Chinese daily last week that they have yet to use the pitch given the prohibitive costs – especially since they used to be able to play street soccer in the same area for free, before the renovation.
In response to the criticism, the town council said that the booking fee and the refundable deposit are meant to “encourage accountability on the part of the users and ensure proper usage of the court,” as The Arena has an artificial turf that “requires higher maintenance” and an interactive wall that “can be very costly to replace.”
Similar futsal courts do not charge refundable deposits while some even offer student rates. One public futsal court in Yuhua, for example, does not require a deposit and sets street soccer players back $5 to $20 an hour, depending on the time of use.
Choa Chu Kang GRC parliamentarian Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim attempted to the defuse the criticism and said last Friday (23 June) that from July onwards, Keat Hong and CCK Town residents will be able to book the futsal court at The Arena @ Keat Hong for FREE for use on Sundays, 9 am to 3 pm.
Calling these free sessions “complimentary bookings,” the People’s Action Party (PAP) MP said: “Thank you, CCK Town Council for facilitating the free Sunday play from 9 am to 3 pm for our residents.”
The town council’s explanation that the costs are meant to foster accountability and the MP’s use of the term “complimentary bookings” has irked residents even further as the futsal pitch is funded by taxpayer dollars. /TISG