I-League 2017/18: Mohun Bagan midfielder Cameron Watson lambasts authorities for going ahead with 2 pm kickoffs
What's the story?
The 2 PM kickoffs in the I-League have caused a lot of outrage among the players and the team management since the fixtures were announced. Playing in the scorching afternoon heat in cities such as Goa, Chennai and Kozhikode can be said to be testing for players, to say the least.
Mohun Bagan midfielder Cameron Watson was the latest player to criticize the league authorities for scheduling a game in Kerala on Saturday with the temperatures soaring around 35 degrees Celsius.
In case you didn't know...
In the name of broadcasting issues, Star network led a high number of I-League fixtures to be arranged at 2pm. A staggering 40 percent of fixtures this season are seen given the afternoon slot. This accounts for 36 league matches to be played in the afternoon heat which has led to the prolonged pleas from the players and the managers to have a change in approach.
The heart of the matter
Coming back to Watson's tweet, the midfielder questioned the authorities and raised an important issue. " (Is the) Safety of players taken into consideration?" asked the Australian. This is not the first time that a player has come out against the afternoon slot of the fixtures.
When the league schedule was announced, Sushanth Mathew, captain of Gokulam Kerala FC had said, “It’s pathetic! At 2 pm, you cannot walk one kilometre under the sun, how can a footballer run around for 90 minutes?”
There are still nine league matches remaining to be played at 2 PM with league leaders Minerva Punjab set to host two out of those nine.
Cameron Watson has raised some pertinent questions regarding the way that the I-League has been organized this year. Running two leagues at the same time is surely a task not many can handle but that simply cannot come at the expense of the players' health and fitness.