ISL 2016 Opening Ceremony: Guwahati Most Likely to be the Venue
Guwahati, the gateway and the largest city of the North East of India, is all set to add another feather to its cap as sources have claimed it to be the venue for the Opening Ceremony of the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). The city recently hosted the South Asian Games followed by, India's internationals against Malaysia and Nepal, the Federation Cup final, the AFC Cup matches for Mohun Bagan alongside the regular ISL matches which has always seen jam-packed stands.
The Indira Gandhi Stadium, Sarusajai, which is the home ground of the NorthEast United FC is likely to be the venue of the ceremony with Anjan Sarma, the Director General of the Sports Authority of Assam (SAA) saying that they have been verbally informed about Guwahati being the venue.
The SAA looks after and manages the Indira Gandhi Stadium in the city.
A report by The Telegraph quoted Sarma as saying, "We were verbally informed about it. But an official intimation is yet to come from the ISL management. It will be a matter of pride for Guwahati and Assam. We would love to extend our full cooperation to an event of its magnitude."
The same report also quotes Leeladhar Singh, IMG-Reliance spokesperson, saying, "The schedule is yet to be finalised. Hopefully, it will be out shortly. There is time to decide on the inaugural ceremony venue. It could be Guwahati, Calcutta, Kochi or elsewhere."
Sources inside the NorthEast United FC franchise also seemed affirmative of the news and said that this season they have bigger task to accomplish and that is of the inauguration ceremony of the tournament.
“It will be a huge exercise because many VIPs and host of film stars and cricketers who own teams will congregate in the city for the event," said a source close to the franchise. But it again insisted that nothing is finalized yet.
According to the Telegraph report, two five-star hotels of the city - Taj Vivanta and Radisson Blu - have confirmed that they have got booking intimations from IMG-Reliance for the event but were yet to finalise. "Yes, we have got booking requests but we are yet to sign contracts," an official in Radisson Blu told The Telegraph.
Calcutta had hosted the ceremony for the first edition in 2014 while Chennai hosted it for the second edition in 2015.