Football stadium for IPL, Indian Football continues to be snubbed

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ipl_6_opening_ceremony (Photo courtesy - http://www.iplt20league.com)The sixth season of Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to start. The cricket fans of India must be eagerly waiting to witness the opening ceremony where stars like Pitbull, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone will perform live. Glamour, fun, excitement all are in store for them. However, Indian football fans, on the other hand are having a tough time as the Blue Tigers are out of AFC Challenge Cup. In addition to that there is another bad news for them.  It seems that the two sports, this time, have collided directly with IPL organizers have been given India’s most famous football stadium for the opening ceremony of IPL 6. The opening ceremony of IPL-6 is going to take place in none other than Yubabharati Krirangan (Salt Lake stadium), the home of Kolkata clubs and one of the biggest stadiums of the world.

WB govt. makes the call

The opening ceremony of IPL 6 will be held on 2nd April and thus coincides with 2nd phase of I-league 2012 – 2013. Earlier it was supposed to take place at Eden Gardens. The news of using YBK as the opening ceremony host has been confirmed by West Bengal state government and the IPL committee. The 2nd phase of I league has been started after a month long break. The home matches of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Prayag United and Pailan Arrows were scheduled at YBK. According to a report by a Bengali news channel, AIFF had informed WB state government about the slot of I league which was scheduled to happen at YBK, however WB government still gave a ‘go-ahead’ to IPL committee. Now, the opening ceremony preparations are on the way. So AIFF had to shift the venue of Kolkata club home matches to Kalyani, where I-League football matches have been organised before. But as per Mr. Sunanda Dhar, CEO – I league, I league committee or AIFF was not informed about this re-allocation of YBK to IPL committee.

Apart from the fact that I-League matches can’t take place in YBK, one huge concern is also about the issue of the undergoing process of temporary scaffolding and shuttering work for preparation of stage. There is a chance of damaging the Astroturf too. According to media reports, the flood light will be ready before the opening ceremony.  This is yet another example of how Indian football is treated in a lamentable way. The floodlights were not ready for Kolkata derby or AFC cup match but surprisingly for the IPL opening ceremony the same will be ready!

Who cares about I League, silly!

Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Ba

The WB state government, two big clubs of Kolkata, IFA – the parent body of football in West Bengal and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) all are expressing different views on this. CAB made their stand clear by stating that the opening ceremony of IPL is much more important event than I league, so they don’t see any reason to discuss about this. Apparently, CAB member Biswarup Dey has even said “Australian people don’t watch I-league, England people don’t watch I-league, but the whole world watches the IPL. YBK is under West Bengal government, so it does not matter what IFA and AIFF says.” But when they were asked why Eden Garden is not hosting the opening ceremony they came back with a desultory reason that the opening game of IPL 6 is scheduled on next day to the opening ceremony and thus, they did not allow Eden to host the function. But for the last five seasons the opening ceremony and opening match took place in same venue.

East Bengal has mentioned that journey from Kolkata to Kalyani by road is a problematic factor in summer as well as due to the unavailability of flood light the matches need to be played at the afternoon which is a major factor in this time of the year. Indeed, in last few I-League matches at Kalyani, drink breaks were needed, a rarity in football.

Interestingly, the sports minister of WB reacted by saying that the pitch is too bad for any I league match and it needs to be changed. He informed that he would take this matter to the Chief Minister of  WB. Given that the opening ceremony is going to make the turf worse, one is tempted to ask whether the govt. is ready to pay for getting a new turf? Or is it that when it comes to football, there are not enough funds?

Questions, questions everywhere, no answers to satisfy!

The attitude shown to I-League brings back some of those basic and uncomfortable questions. First of all how the IPL opening ceremony venue could be shifted to YBK? YBK is supposed to for football and athletics only. Cricket Association of Bengal has Eden Garden which is solely for cricketing events. The use of YBK for cricketing purpose is completely unnecessary and unjustified. Secondly, one has to accept that the maintenance cost of YBK is borne by WB state government. They have authority to offer the stadium for other purpose. This kind of event is a good money making event for the stadium which can be utilized for its maintenance. But at the same time they need to understand the importance of football and athletics. Now it is the high time that IFA or AIFF takes over the charges of YBK for football’s benefit. During 2003 – 04, Rabindra Sarobor stadium used to be the home ground for Tollygunge Agragami in the National Football League. But due to lack of maintenance and ignorance the stadium is now just an abandoned structure. Hope same will not happen with YBK. While India is hoping to host the U – 17 FIFA World Cup for the first time and at the same time the stadiums of India are being ignored.  The Yubabharati stadium is linked with some of fascinating moments in Indian and Kolkata football. It is the home of the famous Kolkata Derby and one of the largest stadium of the world. With renovations, it can be used for international matches. I hope the concern people will take the call before it is too late.

4 COMMENTS

  1. this is a total insult of indian football, and shows a stepmotherly approach by the gov’t towards this sport.

  2. রূপায়ন ভট্টাচার্যের জন্য মনটা খারাপ করছে,এরাম চলতে থাকলে ভদ্রলোকের ভবিষ্যত… যাক আর বললাম না। হ্যাঁরে অর্চিস্মান তোর বন্ধুতো রে,কাকার চাকরি গেলে তো ফেলে *লাবে…Joke apart..খুব ভালো লেখা, ফুটবলযে তোর প্রিয় জানতাম,খেলিস দারুন,দেখিস দারুন জানতাম,কিন্তু এত ভালো লিখিস জানতাম না… সেই ফিফথ সেমে অটোমাটার পর এত বড় ইংরিজি লেখা পড়েছি (একসাথে) বলে মনে পড়ছে না, আরে না না মনে এয়েছে, যেবার জার্মানি আর্জেন্টিনা কে চারখান দিয়েছিলো সেইবার গোটা ইন্টারনেট পড়েছিলাম। চালিয়ে যাও দোস্ত,আমি আছি…ধোনিকে যেদিন ক্যালাতে যাবে আমাকে ডেকো পিলিজ…

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