Rift between AIFF, DSA sees Santosh Trophy being shifted to Punjab
According to DSA president Shaji Prabhakaran, the AIFF insisted that the competition should be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium, Delhi whereas the DSA wanted to host the tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium.
"They wanted us to do it at the JLN stadium, but we told them that it is feasible for us to do it at the Ambedkar Stadium," Prabhakaran said.
The AIFF is of the opinion that if the tournament is hosted at the Ambedkar Stadium then a number of facilities have to be upgraded. While the DSA agreed that they will upgrade the facilities, AIFF wanted a written commitment from the authorities (MCD or NDMC).
Prabhakaran told IANS that generally municipalities do not give any such commitment in writing to anybody because they are not obliged to. But we were agreeing to give such commitment in writing as it is our, DSA's prestige. But then, AIFF did not agree to our proposal and shifted the tournament to Punjab.
Prabhakaran also told IANS that the whole purpose of holding the tournament in Delhi will be defeated if it is hosted at the JLN Stadium. "Nobody goes there, whereas in Ambedkar people throng to see the matches. It is very difficult for fans to go there and the stadium is also very expensive.
"One need not have to go back to 20 years or more, even in the last five years, whenever there was a match there was crowd. That is the main purpose. Even I-League second division matches are on right now," Parbhakar said.
"Therefore, since AIFF did not agree for Ambedkar and we were not interested in JLN stadium, the talks fell and AIFF shifted the venue to Punjab.
(Jagannath Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)