The Karnataka High Court has pulled up the state government for the use of the Kanteerava stadium for ‘football activities’. The court ordered issue of notice to the state government, after a group of athletes filed a PIL, questioning the use of the Stadium’s track and field area for conducting football activities.
The use of the stadium by footballers has irked track and field athletes who have repeatedly complained that their training routine has been disrupted by structures put up inside the stadium. “Kanteerava Stadium was originally built as an athletics stadium. Other activities in the stadium has disrupted training of track and field athletes for four years now,” said Ashwini Nachappa, who was among the athletes to file the petition.
The petitioners pointed out that the stadium was being used for football matches even though the city has a separate football stadium. “If football is played regularly here, the lawns have to be maintained for it and that affects field athletes practicing here,” said SD Eshan, an international shot-putter and Asian games medalist, who is also one of the petitioners.
The JSW owned Bengaluru Football Club has also been issued a notice by the High Court. The football club was allowed to use the stadium’s track and field area by the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, but the three year contract signed in 2014 is up for renewal this year. “The matter is under inquiry at the moment and a decision is yet to be given,” said Anupam Agarwal, Director, Youth Empowerment and Sports Department.
While Bengaluru Football Club played its home games in the Bangalore Football Stadium in 2013, the club moved to the higher capacity Kanteerava Stadium in the following year and have played their home games there ever since. Football fans have been thronging to watch Bengaluru FC games in the stadium for four years now. 18,248 supporters attended the club’s latest home game against Delhi Dynamos last week.
A club official did not comment on the issue.