Football: The budget proposed by the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) to the government to fund the second round of the FIFA World Cup qualification matches will be discussed during the upcoming Parliament session, said the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

The national team will have to travel to China, Hong Kong, Maldives and Qatar for away leg of the competition and host the four countries at Changlimithang starting June 11.

During a meet-the-press session yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the government has drafted a budget for the upcoming World Cup matches that the National Assembly will have to approve. “I think it will be a good investment; a money well spent,” he said.

BFF’s general secretary, Ugyen Wangchhuk, said that they have estimated at least Nu 26 million to Nu 28 million for the second round of the World Cup qualifier matches. BFF will also receive USD 300,000 from FIFA to bear the expenses incurred during the qualification matches.

“If the money from FIFA comes through, then we’ll need about Nu 16 million more,” Ugyen Wangchhuk said earlier. The federation has requested the government to help with the extra Nu 16 million.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the Bhutanese national team has achieved a great success when they defeated Sri Lanka in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers. “Because of their victory the tourism industry has also benefited,” he said.

However, the Prime Minister said that as long as the visitors come in as a tourist, the regular tourist regulations will be applicable to all visitors, including the daily tariff of USD 200 (off season) and USD 250 during the peak season. “As long as they come in as a tourist we don’t think we need to change any of the tourism regulations,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the number of tourists will depend on the tour operators and the two airlines of the country. “All that the two airlines can bring in, we think we’ll be able to accommodate them,” he said. “Thimphu has a good number of hotels that can accommodate most of them.”

BFF is expecting around 2,000 away supporters during the Bhutan-China match on June 16 at the Changlimithang stadium.

By Younten Tshedup