The upcoming One Day match between India and the West Indies which is scheduled to take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium has run into controversy. The concern is that the match, which will be hosted by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), may damage the FIFA approved world-class football turf at the stadium.
The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has said that it will take experts' opinion and will also consider the government's view in the issue.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar had tweeted that he was concerned about the damage that could be done to the football turf if an ODI is conducted there.
After Sachin's tweet garnered attention, the representatives of the KCA, GCDA, and Kerala Blasters Club, which is co-owned by Sachin, held a meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss the issue.
The GCDA has taken the ground on lease for a period of 30 years.
At a press meet held later in the day, the GCDA Chairman CN Mohanan, said that the possibility of conducting both sports, football and cricket, at the stadium will be examined.
"Expert opinion will be sought in the matter. Also government's opinion will be considered before finalising the decision. The stadium will host both football and cricket, if it is possible to do so," he said.
While the KCA took the stand that after conducting the cricket match, the football turf can be rebuilt in just 22 days, Sanjeev, the Blasters representative, said that they had no objection if that was indeed the case.
No international cricket match has been held at the stadium after 2014.
The turf at the stadium was built by FIFA for the Under 17 World Cup matches in 2017. The turf was built at a cost of Rs 2 crores, using Bermuda grass. This is the only stadium which has a turf that meets international standards in Kerala.
Football fans in the state support Sachinâ€™s stand in the issue, fearing that even if the turf is rebuilt, it wonâ€™t be the same as the one built by FIFA.
â€śKCA has money and spending Rs 2 crores for a turf is not a big deal for them. However, there is a well-built cricket stadium, Green Field Stadium at Kariavattom, Thiruvananthapuram, and the match can be played there as well. I was there for the last cricket match at the stadium. The stadium was so crowded. The match was delayed by three hours, still the people waited patiently. People will watch cricket irrespective of the city hosting it. For football, that is not the case,â€ť renowned footballer from Kerala IM Vijayan told TNM.
â€śI had been to several stadiums during the Under 17 World Cup, and had the chance to meet FIFA people. Everyone was full of praise for the Nehru stadium. It is really difficult to play football in a stadium where cricket pitch has been made. But if we think from the GCDA's point of view, they have leased out the stadium for a whopping amount. Therefore the issue should be settled without a controversy,â€ť he added.