West Bengal is the preferred venue for the 2020-21 I-League season as the All India Football Federation has chosen it has its central location for the new season as they try to hold the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Football governing body in west Bengal, India football association (IFA) reached an agreement to stage all I-League matches for the new season, although the decision has been met with mixed reactions.
Chennai City, NEROCA, and Gokulam Kerala have all showed their support and approval to the arrangement with NEROCA stating that it is ready to play in Kolkota.
“We are ready to play in Kolkata. We have no problem. The home advantage will not be there. But again, it will be played in empty stadiums. Gate collection would have suffered either way, even if it was played in Manipur. So we don’t have any problem playing in Kolkata,” Manimohan Moirangthem NEROCA secretary said.
While Gokulam Kerala have no problem playing in Kolkota, the team has, however, sought for the support of the All India Football Federation in terms of accommodation.
Rohit Ramesh, who is the owner of Chennai City, believes it’s a good idea to play the matches in a single venue, describing it as a positive step considering logistics.
Meanwhile, real Kashmir, Aizawl, and Churchill Brothers have all stated their displeasure at the arrangement by the All India Football Federation.
Valanka Alemao, CEO of the Red Machines, was more concerned about the health and safety of the players citing the high infection rate in Kolkota as a fear.
Furthermore, Aizawl FC owner Robert Royte was more agitated about the economic impact of the decision and if the AIFF will be ready to support clubs.
Real Kashmir owner Sandeep Chattoo also sought for the financial support of the AIFF requesting that subsidies should be provided for the clubs with the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the income generated by clubs.
However, no date has been confirmed as the start of the 2020-2021 I-League season, but it is expected that the commencement will be by December 2020 or January 2021.
Written by: Daniel Ademiju Idowu