SINGAPORE - The National Stadium's patchy field has claimed its first victim: Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou's sold-out concert on Nov 8 has been postponed to Dec 27.
This is to give the hybrid pitch some respite before the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup kicks off on Nov 23.
Singapore Sports Hub chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik said it was willing to absorb "significant costs" over the rescheduling to sort out its surface.
"We know our pitch strategy so far has not worked - Jay and his team were very understanding about our situation," he told The Straits Times last night.
"We are going all out to get it right before the Suzuki Cup begins."
The Sports Hub had originally announced on Monday that the concert would go ahead as planned, but a meeting with AFF officials on Wednesday is believed to have led to the reshuffle.
At the heart of the issue is AFF's regulation that stadiums should not be used for any event for at least 15 working days before the first match, to ensure that the turf is in good condition.
The biennial Suzuki Cup is slated to kick off with a Singapore versus Thailand clash.
Fans with tickets for Chou's concert can use them on the new date, while those seeking refunds can do so by 8pm on Nov 9.
Public relations executive Merliza Lim, 29, who has purchased a pair of $208 tickets, said: "If they knew about the Suzuki Cup all along, they should have held the concert at a different venue from the start. Rescheduling it to the Christmas weekend when many people are overseas doesn't help."
To meet the AFF ruling, an exhibition rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and Asia Pacific Dragons on Nov 15 is also likely to be cancelled. It is understood that the Maori outfit is committed to come here and will conduct a clinic for youngsters at the very least.
The pitch - made of natural grass reinforced with artificial fibre inserts - has taken plenty of flak for its sandy condition, particularly after a worldwide audience tuned in for Tuesday's football friendly between Brazil and Japan.
Sports Hub officials insist the field will be in better shape next month, after the recent purchase of $1.5 million growth lights, which are kept on through the night to act like sunlight.
Pop diva Mariah Carey will perform as planned at the new Kallang facility next Friday, but the stage will be re-positioned off the field.
Patrons affected have the option of a full refund or re-allocation of their seats, along with a $10 food and beverage voucher.