ISL 2019: Sree Kanteerava 'hope' for Bengaluru FC ahead of opening fixture
On Friday, Bengaluru FC received a glimmer of hope in their bid to play their home matches in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
On Friday, Bengaluru FC received a glimmer of hope in their bid to play their home matches in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium just three weeks ahead of their first home match against NorthEast United FC.
As per reports, the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES), Govt. Of Karnataka issued a letter of consent on Thursday to the JSW-owned club, who are the reigning ISL champions, to hold its matches at the Kanteerava itself.
DYES commissioner K Srinivas was quoted by Deccan Herald, revealing the latest development. He said, “The division bench had said don’t give the stadium for football games. Then, the High Court single bench ordered that the stadium be given to them only on the day of the match. They have to book online before hosting the matches and after booking, subject to the policy to be framed as ordered by the division bench.”
Speaking to The Bridge, a BFC fan expressed his joy that the Sree Kanteerava would remain the home ground. The West Block Blues member, who has been a regular at the Kanteerava since 2016, said, "We are very excited that the Kanteerava remains our home ground. Nothing can replace this ground. Nothing can replace the atmosphere and the fans. This stadium is like our home and we never want to replace it."
One must note that the petition on which this decision was made was not the one filed by athletes and coaches. This development comes after a hearing last week on 26th September on the petition filed by the JSW against the State of Karnataka while the next hearing is slated for October 17.
Earlier, athletes and coaches, led by former India sprinter Ashwini Nachappa, had sought to restrain footballing activities on the grounds that the stadium was exclusively built for track and filed disciplines. It was further alleged that the club’s footballing activities had been hampering the athletes’ training.
The court had since ordered an enquiry to assess the legality of the previous agreement between DYES and JSW. A report on the same is scheduled to be tabled by the State on 14th October.
BFC, meanwhile, had announced that the Balewadi Stadium in Pune will be their ‘home’ ground for the coming season to adhere to the All India Football Federation’s Club Licensing deadline.
With the issue yet to be sorted, it remains to be seen whether or not Sunil Chhetri and Co. can play their inaugural home match of the season on 21st October at the Kanteerava. Even if they receive the permission to use the stadium, the pitch has not been prepared as of now and there is also the logistical side to look at for the organiser.