Kerala: Fans petition PM as Copa America kicks off sans live telecast

The NFFA has faxed a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene in the issue.
Copa America is one of the most followed tournaments in the world
Copa America is one of the most followed tournaments in the worldPhoto | Express

KOZHIKODE: The Copa America has begun in the USA, but Indian football fans have been left disappointed as there is no live telecast of the celebrated tournament in the country. Football enthusiasts in Malabar avidly follow and gather for international tournaments like the World Cup, European Championship and Copa America, and national competitions like the Santosh Trophy.

Fans’ groups like the Nainamvalappu Football Fans Association (NFFA) in Kozhikode have expressed dismay at the absence of live telecast on television for the Copa America.

The NFFA has faxed a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to intervene in the issue.

“Copa America is one of the most followed tournaments in the world, featuring teams like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and others. These football teams have a huge fan base in Kerala too,” said NFFA president Subair.

“The football fans in Malabar are hugely disappointed that we cannot watch Copa America live on TV, it’s a major letdown,” said Abdu N V, a 60-year-old daily wage labourer and a football enthusiast from Nainamvalappu.

“Right now, both Euro cup and Copa America are going on. While we are enjoying the Euro matches live with special screenings, it’s disheartening that we cannot experience Copa America live. We cannot watch Argentina play, which is a disappointment for its fans here. It’s a rare occasion to have both prestigious tournaments running simultaneously, and we have been eagerly following and watching every match. Football is like a celebration for us; we watch all matches together. It’s a tradition,” he added wistfully.

In Malabar, football isn’t just a game but a passion that unites communities. This deep love for football reflects Kerala’s strong connection with the sport, with nearly 30% of India’s last FIFA World Cup viewership coming from the state. Screening football matches has become ingrained in Malabar’s culture. Whether in bustling local clubs or cosy living rooms, fans of all ages come together, creating an electric atmosphere as they cheer for their teams.

This communal experience fosters camaraderie among neighbours, friends, and families alike. However, amid the excitement of local screenings, missing out on Copa America has left a void in their footballing experience.

NFFA have requested the PM to arrange live telecasts in India by sports channels or Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan), he said. “Football unites us all, and we eagerly look forward to these matches. We hope the fans will soon be able to gather again to witness the thrilling moments of Copa America live on their screens,” he added.

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