BHUBANESWAR: Sports lovers of Odisha may have more reasons to cheer. This time, it is for football as the Kalinga Stadium is most likely to play host to Indian Super League (ISL), the top professional soccer league of the country.
Jamshedpur FC has proposed to adopt Kalinga Stadium as its second home ground, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Chandra Sarathi Behera told this paper on Tuesday.
The fourth season of ISL kicked off last month. The Tata Steel backed Jamshedpur FC may play two of its league matches here in February next year, Behera informed. “If everything falls into place, we expect that Jamshedpur FC will face North East United FC and Bangalore FC on February 10 and 25 respectively,” the Minister said.
The ISL added two more teams this year - Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC - which will see that the super league is played over four months and have more matches than ever.
In view of the expanded season, a three-member grounds technical committee headed by Rochak Langer had visited Kalinga Stadium. The committee inspected the ground, stadium capacity, broadcasting facility and parking zone.The ISL Season-4 started on November 17.
All 10 teams will play each other in a home-and-away format in 90 games before the two-legged semi-finals which are scheduled to take place in the second week of March in 2018.“Odisha Government is committed to promote different sports in the State,” Behera said.
After the success of 22nd Asian Athletics Championships here, Odisha has emerged as the new sporting destination of the country. The international infrastructure and State Government’s commitment towards sports has made Odisha a venue for international events, the Minister said.
Next year, the State will host its biggest international event, men’s Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium on November 28. Sixteen top-ranked hockey teams will fight for the top honour.