3/19/2018 11:11:23 PM (GMT+3)

Important is to respect all sports, not just cricket

Important is to respect all sports, not just cricket

DOHA, Qatar: It’s unfathomable why a football ground has to be dug up to play cricket in India.

The BCCI decision to award an ODI between India and West Indies at Kochi has come under serious criticism.

The match, scheduled for November 1, is set to clash with season 5 of the Indian Super League (ISL). 

We’ve to understand that football is still a secondary sport in the country given cricket’s massive influence on the economy. It churns out money for BCCI and various stakeholders.

Also, there’s absolutely no hard feelings towards the sport or players, who play cricket. But why every time a football venue, which has been so well nurtured and maintained before the U17 FIFA World Cup, has to be sacrificed for cricket’s benefits.

Several footballers, officials and even a political personality like Shashi Tharoor took to the social media to blast those who are willing to uproot the goalposts and midfield at Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, also the home of ISL side Kerala Blasters.

“Spoke to CoA Chief Vinod Rai to denounce Kerala Cricket Assn's bizarre decision to transfer the India-WI ODI from a match-ready Trivandrum stadium to Kochi, whose ground was last used for the U17 Football World Cup. He has promised to review the matter. KCA motives highly suspect,” tweeted Tharoor on Monday.

The JN Stadium is one of only six stadium that are FIFA approved, a certification that will take immense effort to obtain again. 

“Wouldn’t have said anything if things were that simple. It’s not one pitch, but FIVE, according to ICC rules. That is, midfield gone. They didn’t repair the turf all through ISL first season. The stadium belongs to a realtor agency who doesn’t give two hoots for the game,” wrote noted Malayalam writer N S Madhavan.

The emotions have poured in on the social media by fans, footballers and others. But is that enough to put pressure on the KCA or BCCI to change their decision, is anybody’s guess.