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I-League 2017/18: Mohun Bagan to host first 3 home games away from Salt Lake Stadium?

877   //    23 Nov 2017, 14:32 IST

Mohun Bagan fans may have to go all the way to Barasat to watch the Mariners play in the home games.
Mohun Bagan fans may have to go all the way to Barasat to watch the Mariners play in the home games.

What’s The Story?

The century-old Indian football club Mohun Bagan might be forced to host their three of their games in the upcoming I-League season away from Salt Lake Stadium. The Kolkata giants could end up shifting to the Barasat Stadium for these three matches.

The Mariners are set to host Churchill Brothers (10th December), Indian Arrows (29th December) and Chennai City FC (2nd January) at Barasat Stadium, according to sources.

After these three matches, however, Bagan are likely to get the Salt Lake Stadium for their home games for the rest of the season. 

The context

This sudden shift of venue comes because of the West Bengal government's rule, which does not allow two matches to be held within 48 hours at the Salt Lake Stadium. This rule also puts East Bengal’s encounter against Aizawl FC under the scanner as they are scheduled to face each other on the 28th and ATK will lock horns with FC Pune City on 26th of this month. 

The heart of the matter

The Salt Lake Stadium has been home to both the Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan for years. After renovation for U17 World Cup, the West Bengal Government wants to protect the stadium and maintain it well.

The Sports Minister of the state Mr Arup Biswas will clarify everything once he returns from his trip to North Bengal. 

Earlier, there was a chance for both the clubs to host their home games in their own grounds at the Kolkata Maidan but those grounds do not have the certification to host the I-League games.

What’s next?

The ISL vs I-League has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. The two tournaments are running simultaneously and this crisis was bound to happen. But, the city fans who come to the Salt Lake Stadium in huge numbers to support Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will not be happy about this. 

Author’s take

ISL is definitely the way forward, but neglecting clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will not help their cause either. The people who matter the most need to find a solution, quickly.

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