Karon pitch saga raises doubts over Rotary

Why did Patong Rotary spend 1.2 million baht on the grass at Karon Stadium when there is still so much poverty and hardship in Phuket? Isn’t the Rotary supposed to “provide humanitarian service?”

Explain to us the humanitarian benefit of grass. The real point of the Karon stadium fiasco has been overlooked. The local soccer players, who have nowhere else to go, are now being blamed – along with local officials – for the poor state of the playing surface. The fact is, the tourists can go somewhere else; the locals cannot.

Surely Patong Rotary didn't give such a massive amount with the hidden...

  • Asked on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | 08:06 PM
    Marcia Flemington, Samkong.

While I proudly believe that the donation of money by the Rotary Club of Patong was a good thing for which we should be praised and not challenged, perhaps some explanation would further understanding.

Many donations to any Rotary Club come with allocation restrictions. With regards to the donation for Karon Stadium turf, the donor required that the funds be spent on rebuilding something that had been destroyed in the tsunami of December 2004.

Due diligence performed by the Rotary Board suggested several other reasons why the Karon Stadium turf project was an appropriate recipient of funds: the children of Karon had lost a playground; Rugby 10s had lost a venue to host an event that would generate further charity funds and recognition for Karon; Patong Rotary had assurances that the field would be maintained.

Since this donation satisfied the allocation restrictions and held other potential charitable gains, the board voted to spend the money to re-turf the pitch.

Patong Rotary has had the good fortune of placing over 42 million baht in an array of worthy causes, including immunizing children against polio, sponsoring the full (K-12) education of 225 children, rebuilding an entire fishing village wiped out by the tsunami and providing 20 immobilized people with motorized wheelchairs.

The fact that our donation was not properly maintained by the local authorities doesn’t merit us criticism. We are all volunteers and we do our best.

  • Answered on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 | 08:06 PM
    OB Wetzell, president of the Rotary Club of Patong.
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