I-League 2017/18: East Bengal cleared to play season opener vs Aizawl FC at Salt Lake Stadium
What’s the story?
Kolkata giants East Bengal are all set to play their first I-League match of the season against Aizawl FC at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium, which also hosted the FIFA U17 World Cup, earlier this year.
While there was some doubt surrounding the availability of the stadium for the match, which takes place on November 28, the State Sports Department has given clearance to the Red and Golds to host the match at the Salt Lake Stadium.
In case you didn’t know…
There has been a lot of confusion with regards to where East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will host their matches, with three clubs – ATK, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan – slated to play at the venue this season.
However, the West Bengal Government, which owns the arena has a rule in place, which does not allow the stadium to be used for matches which ware scheduled within 48 hours of eachother.
Heart of the matter
Despite these rules, the State Sports Department has sent a letter to East Bengal, clearing them to use the Stadium to host their first I-League match of the season, against defending champions Aizawl FC.
Interestingly, though, despite this clearance, the Red and Golds face some problems with regards to ticketing, as they need to get the tickets for the matches sealed by the State Sports Department, which remains closed on Saturdays. This has thrown a major roadblock in their endeavor to host the matches.
With the State Sports Department giving clearance to East Bengal for the use of the iconic YBK, there is hope that the Salt Lake Stadium will be used in more games than previously expected.
The whole situation could turn out to be a bit of a double-edged sword. Clubs like East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and ATK draw large crowds to the stadiums, and need a big arena like the Salt Lake Stadium. However, with such frequent use of the arena, there are bound to be questions raised about the quality of the pitch, if a match is played there around three times a week.