BENGALURU: Athletes seem to be in no mood to compromise in getting what is their due. They feel that since the Sree Kanteerava Stadium is built primarily for athletics, they should get priority.
While it is clear that they don’t want any crumbs, they are open for talks. “We have no other stadium in Bengaluru to train. We have no objection to football matches being conducted here but that should not hinder our training or activities. We are ready to discuss this with them,” say the athletes and coaches.
Trouble began as soon as I-League team Bengaluru FC (BFC) and the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sport (DYES) entered into an agreement to have football matches at the Kanteerava Stadium. An agreement was entered into in May 2014.
But why did BFC have to come to Kanteerava Stadium to play? This is because the original plan of the BFC management to rebuild the Bangalore Football Stadium did not materialise.
With the BFC and DYES set to renew the agreement, the athletes and coaches are up in arms. For, in the past, when athletics events were still going on, BFC was waiting to erect the goalpost for a match.
The term of the agreement, beginning from May 14, was to have been till the conclusion of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that is to be held in India later this year. Since Bengaluru was dropped as a venue for the World Cup, the end of the agreement term seems to have lost its meaning. But the agreement is set to be renewed.
According to the agreement, BFC is supposed to maintain the stadium. While BFC has done up the stands etc, it has not completely stuck to its side of the bargain.
BFC is maintaining the turf, but it often cordons it off for training or matches. This has the athletes furious because the turf is where they need to train for javelin, shot put, hammer throw and discus throw. BFC says that such training will damage the turf and ground, thus injuring the players. This, again, has been a source of tension.
The BFC management said they were following the situation but declined to comment on the issue at this point in time.
Now, the ball is in the government’s court.