"A huge success"
Two weeks of absorbing football was seen at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Arsenal started it, Liverpool conquered it and Chelsea put the icing on the cake as football fans came in droves to show their support for the English Premier League giants but kept their loyalty to Malaysia close to their heart.
The Chelsea match yesterday saw 84,980 tickets sold - breaking the 84,000 achieved for the historic Liverpool match while Arsenal drew 65,000 fans at the stadium.
ProEvents International chief executive Julian Kam was pleased as a punch with the figures.
ProEvents were the exclusive Asia Tour 2011 organiser for all three teams and more big names are already in the pipeline for next year.
“It was great two weeks of football. Fans came from all over the country. The matches even brought die hard supporters of the clubs from the Asean region. They came from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei.
“I was told there were die hard supporters of these teams who came from Europe. Football unites people and it was pleasant to see Malaysian supporters throwing their weight behind the national team even if they were dressed in Red or Blue,” said Kam.
“To have three world renowned football teams play in Kuala Lumpur in 10 days is history. Liverpool’s first ever trip to Malaysia was historic what more when Malaysia managed to score three against the Reds. Liverpool were amazed that they have such a huge fan base in this country and have to come back again in two years time.”
More importantly, Malaysia once again showed its organisational ability. Malaysians are known for their hospitality and organisational abilities, having hosted world events like the F1, Monsoon Cup (sailing), World Badminton Championships, World Cup hockey, both at senior and junior level, Junior World Cup football and many others that won world wide acclaim.
Julian dismissed reports of fake tickets at the Asia Tour 2011.
“This is totally unfounded. We handled the entire Tour without throwing away any quarter. All steps were taken to ensure that from security to ticketing nothing fell short. I am proud that all those who were entrusted to handle the job did an excellent job, except for some minor grouses here and there. This is something you have to accept when organising an event of this magnitude,” added Kam, who is an appointed FIFA match agent.
Fans certainly got their monies worth at all three matches. In the first match on July 13, Arsenal beat Malaysia 4-0, while Liverpool were involved in a nine goal thriller before walking away with a 6-3 victory on July 16. Chelsea beat a Malaysian Selection 1-0 through a controversial goal by Ivory Coast Coast striker Didier Drogba yesterday.
Kam also thanked all the sponsors who came aboard and the Media Partners for making the Asia
Tour 2011 a huge success.
“The Malaysian media, both print and electronic, once again gave their close cooperation in making the Tour a success that cannot be measure in words.
“You saw stories on the front and back pages of all the newspapers, while the electronic media gave coverage during prime time slots. This is simple fantastic,” said Kam.
In terms of tourism, Malaysia became the focus as the three English giants headed to Kuala Lumpur and given world-wide coverage. Hotels reported full bookings while sporting houses did roaring business as fans made a beeline to buy jerseys of their favourite teams, including Malaysia.