ISL 2017: Poor pitch condition to force Jamshedpur FC's shift to Kalinga Stadium?
The Kalinga Stadium is currently hosting the Hockey World League Finals.
What's the story?
Odisha is quickly becoming a new sports destination in India. The Kalinga Stadium is likely to play host to the Indian Super League (ISL) this season. Jamshedpur FC have set up a proposal to adopt the Kalinga Stadium as its alternate home ground.
In case you didn't know
Jamshedpur FC's first home game at the RJD Tata Sports Complex against ATK showed the poor condition of the pitch, something that raises a lot of concerns. ATK midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh had limped off with a knee injury during the match, and Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell has raised concerns about possible injuries.
The heart of the matter
Jamshedpur FC are likely to play two league matches in Odisha's Kalinga Stadium in February, next year. Sources in the know believe that if everything goes smoothly, Jamshedpur FC will face North East United FC and Bengaluru FC on February 10 and 25, respectively.
The addition of two more teams this year, namely Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC, will see the ISL stretched across four months and have more matches than ever. Anticipating the expanded season, a committee was sent to pay a visit to the Kalinga Stadium. The committee inspected the ground, stadium capacity, broadcasting facility and parking zone.
Next year, Odisha will host the men’s Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium on November 28. Sixteen top-ranked hockey teams will fight for the top honour. While the stadium currently has an artificial turn, it will be interesting to see whether natural grass will be placed for the ISL games.
The pitch may fall in the background when everything is perfect, but it could play a huge role, in the matches, if it is not prepared properly. Injuries to players always remain a huge concern on poorly prepared pitches. The teams must always ensure that the playing conditions are pristine. Safety of the players is of paramount importance in every sport.