A makeshift viewing gallery at a football ground in Keralaâ€™s Palakkad district collapsed just before a friendly match on Sunday, injuring nearly 50 people. The incident took place a little after 8 pm when one side of the gallery, which was made of areca nut tree planks, collapsed.
The friendly match was organised as a fundraiser for late football player R Dhanarajan, who died of a cardiac arrest during an All India Sevens Tournament match in Perinthalmanna, Malappuram.
According to reports, nearly 50 persons, who sustained minor injuries, were admitted to two different hospitals in the locality, one being the Palakkad district medical college. Indian football legends Bhaichung Bhutia and IM Vijayan were present at the football ground and were set to participate in the match, according to reports. However, they have reportedly not sustained any injuries.
The ground is located in the Noorani neighbourhood of Palakkad and the match was set to take place around 6 pm on Sunday. However, it got delayed until 8 pm and was to be attended by Shafi Parambil MLA and Palakkad MP VK Sreekantan. Shafi also holds the post of local football associationâ€™s president.
V Sreekantan told the local newspapers that the temporary structure constructed on the football ground crashed right before the match was to set to begin. The injured persons were rescued by the police department, fire brigade and the volunteers who rushed to the venue during the accident.
In 2017, the Noorani football ground in Palakkad district, where several of Keralaâ€™s finest players practice, got a complete facelift, thanks to MLA Shafi Parambil. With Rs 2.5 crore from the MLA Asset Development Fund, the ground was transformed into the districtâ€™s first Astroturf stadium.
"Although the ground was isolated and without any facilities, players love to practise here. I couldnâ€™t simply watch the ground being transformed into a waste land, as the new generation does not use the ground quite as often as the former players did,â€ť Shafi had told The News Minute.