The 2020-21 edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) has run into political trouble ahead of its start on November 20, as members of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) blocked the Mumbai City FC bus at their training session.
The Islanders were halted by the Congress workers at the Nagaon Panchayat Ground, the training ground that has been assigned to the club. The players were not allowed to proceed with their training session by the workers.
The GPCC is protesting against the ISL citing their concerns regarding local Goan vendors not being allotted logistical contracts such as transport services. Coincidentally, the two vehicles used by the Mumbai franchise - team bus and an Innova car both were registered in Uttar Pradesh and Goa respectively.
GPCC vice president Sankalp Amonkar was leading the protest and spoke about the situation to Sportstar.
"We protested today by stopping the bus and not allowing the players to get down. The bus is registered in Uttar Pradesh. We sent it back and did not let the team practice today. Our demand is that when such a big event is happening in Goa, why should the local people not get the business?"
Until then, the GPCC workers have vowed to disturb the training sessions of every team of the ISL. He also added that the ISL management has coordinated with GPCC leadership and arranged a meeting at Panjim tomorrow.
Goa sports minister Manohar Ajgaonkar asserted that he did not receive any proposals on the situation from the opposition Congress party. He assured fans that the tournament will be held as per the schedule decided.
Ajgaonkar further commented that the league as well as the clubs have acquired all the necessary permissions from the Goa government to train and play, and will be provided appropriate security arrangements.
This incident has come to the fore after Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant had intervened and solved a conflict between local transport operators and ISL organizers. The league had been threatened with legal action by the operators since they had used outstation vehicles instead of local Goan vehicles for transports services.
The ISL Season 7 is scheduled to kick off on Nov 20 with the opener between Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.Published 18 Nov 2020, 22:44 IST