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I-League 2017: Indian Arrows to shift home ground due to Delhi pollution?

Soumo Ghosh
837   //    06 Dec 2017, 15:42 IST

The Indian Arrows played their first two home games of the season at the Bambolim Stadium, in Goa.
The Indian Arrows played their first two home games of the season at the Bambolim Stadium, in Goa.

What’s the story?

With pollution appearing to be a huge problem in the National capital, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is contemplating whether shifting the Indian Arrows’ home games in the I-League should be shifted away from the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

In case you didn’t know

The initial plan was to host the Indian Arrows’ home games at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi. However, due to unavailability issues, the first two home games of the team have been shifted to the Bambolim Stadium in Goa.

Heart of the matter

Pollution has affected all walks of life in New Delhi, and the surrounding regions of Noida and Gurugram. Sporting events in the city have also taken a hit due to this reason. Most recently, Sri Lankan cricketers complained about the pollution levels in the city during their Test match against India, at the Feroze Shah Kotla, in New Delhi. A number of the Sri Lanka players had even come out on the field in masks.

Football in the city has also been affected, as both Delhi Dynamos and Jamshedpur FC coaches complained about the pollution level in the city. While Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell said that the authorities need to take note of the pollution levels and shift the games to venues that are safer for the players.

While there is still some time for their next home game, against Gokulam Kerala FC, which takes place on December 22, concerns about the pollution levels in the city are running high. The AIFF, who had started the Indian Arrows as a pet project, are contemplating whether to shift the matches from Delhi.

“Their next match is on 22th, so there’s still some time left,” an AIFF official said to Sportskeeda. “Pollution is a valid concern, and we will look into the matter. We haven’t reached a decision on this as of yet.”

What’s next?

While sporting events are still going on in Delhi, it is yet to be seen whether any major steps against hosting such matches in polluted cities. It is certainly a move that the sportspersons will approve of.

Author’s take

Shifting matches out of an overly-polluted city is but a stop-gap solution. While it may solve the immediate problem for the athletes, it offers no proper solution to the problem. The pollution problem must be made top priority, and if this problem is tackled properly, shifting games would no longer be an issue.

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