Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has been home to Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters FC for the last six years. At one point, the venue used to host Indian Premier League (IPL) matches as well as international cricket matches. However, it has seen only football matches since the inception of ISL in 2014.
The multipurpose stadium last hosted an international cricket matche before the start of ISL season one, in October 2014, when West Indies were visiting India for an ODI series. However, recently, news broke that the Blasters are looking to make Kozhikode’s EMS Stadium their new home, at least for a few matches.
The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has seen this as an opportunity to try and reclaim the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. In fact, as per a report in Sportstar, KCA Secretary Sreejith Nair has already written to Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), seeking permission to host matches at the stadium.
"We heard Kerala Blasters are holding discussions and thinking of using the stadium in Kozhikode. We saw this as an opportunity to request GCDA to let us use the stadium. Kochi hosted international and IPL games in the past. After investing so much in that venue, not being able to utilise the facility is unfortunate," Sreejith was quoted saying by New Indian Express.
Reports further suggest that the KCA does not mind sharing the stadium with the Blasters. Sreejith said that they do not want football to stop altogether but they also have spent a lot of money to develop the stadium.
This turf war between cricket and football in Kochi is not new. In the past also there has been a lot of controversy regarding the rightful ‘heirs’ of the stadium.
Meanwhile, the Blasters management is likely to hold talks with the Kozhikode Corporation on Wednesday to firm up its plans for the Corporation Stadium there.