No comfort at home for Bengaluru FC
BENGALURU: Uncertainty regarding the availability of Sree Kanteerava Stadium to accommodate Bengaluru FC Home games in the AFC Cup and India Super league He continued Monday with the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports (DYES) without making any decision.
BFC has not yet obtained authorization to conduct its matches at the Kanteerava stadium. Senior officials, including the commissioner and the additional chief secretary, informed the CM about the matter. But the CM office, which also manages the sports ministry, has not made a decision so far, sources told TOI.
They said the BFC had more time to breathe on Monday with the AFC extending its deadline to register a local stadium for one day.
"If BFC doesn't get the nod even by tomorrow, the plan is to enter Pune as an alternate venue. There is a possibility that BFC will go back to AFC to change the venue back to Bengaluru once they get the clearance to accommodate matches at the Kanteerava," sources added.
The BFC dilemma was highlighted Monday by JSW Parth Jindal. Waiting and praying for @bengalurufc to play his games in Bengaluru. I urge all authorities to ensure that the beautiful football game remains in Karnataka and Bengaluru. From @TheJSWGroup I assure everyone, including those in the Karnataka Athletics Association, our support. , Parth tweeted.
Hundreds of fans soon responded on Twitter in support of BFC asking for help from the CM and the Union Sports Minister. A fan even started a 'Petition to retain the Fortress' on change.org.
For BFC, the problem is meeting the AFC deadline. The ISL is more flexible this season with two ISL clubs that are already changing bases. According to the rules of the AFC competition, each club must play their home games at the AFC-approved stadium during the entire competition. A participating club cannot change the stadium during the competition unless it is forced to do so due to circumstances beyond its control, the 2019 rules say.
The court case may delay the government's decision
Meanwhile, government sources said the current court case has hindered BFC's attempt to rent the stadium. They hinted that the authorization could be further delayed with the case presented by former international athletes against JSW that will be presented for a hearing in the coming weeks.
The BFC's request to rent the stadium, usually a routine matter of reserving dates, got into trouble due to the dispute between the Karnataka Athletics Association and the JSW. In July, the Superior Court asked the government to order an investigation into how the secretary of the stadium management committee signed the three-year agreement with JSW in 2014 and extended it for another year, they said.
The court has also asked the government to formulate a policy on the use of government stadiums, the sources said and added that the department already has a detailed policy on renting stadiums for non-sports activities.