Kozhikode Corporation decides not to renew contract of Gokulam Kerala home stadium
Alen Philip Mathew
The Kozhikode Cooperation decided not to renew the contract for matches due to poor maintenance.
Gokulam Kerala FC have built a strong fan base and have been regularly playing their home matches at the Kozhikode Cooperation Stadium for the past few years. However, the club has now been blacked out from the stadium by the Kozhikode Cooperation Council.
The Kozhikode Corporation has decided not to renew the contract for training and matches at the Kozhikode Corporation EMS Stadium, alleging that the stadium was not maintained as per the terms of the contract.
Gokulam Kerala FC are one of the most successful football clubs in India. They were founded in 2017, and the club has established its roots in Indian football in a very short period. The club has won the I-League twice in a row, in 2020-21, 2021-22, and Durand Cup in 2019. The club has also played in the AFC Champions League, the highest level of club football in Asia.
In 2021, they became the first club to represent India in AFC Women’s Club Championship. The action of the Corporation’s expulsion comes shortly after the Women’s Football team made the Gokulam name proud by winning the IWL title for the third time in a row.
The Kozhikode corporation’s claims
The stadium was allotted to Gokulam in 2018. The corporation has alleged that, “The stadium was not maintained as per the terms of the contract with Gokulam FC, and therefore it was decided not to renew the contract for training and matches at the stadium.”
The Corporation has said that it will invite other clubs to use the stadium, but it is unclear if any other club will be willing to invest the same amount of money as Gokulam FC has. The Corporation’s decision is a major setback for the development of football in Kozhikode. Gokulam FC is the only club in Kozhikode that has the financial resources to compete at the highest level.
The club, on the other hand, have stated that it has spent around one crore rupees on the maintenance of the stadium. Apart from Gokulam FC matches, the stadium is also available for other matches across sports, including cricket. The club officials point out that this has made it difficult to protect the lawn by allowing cricket matches to be held. Another allegation is that the floodlights are working but substandard floodlights have been installed in the stadium. There were earlier allegations of corruption against the corperation in this regard.
This development has caused a lot of frustration among the fans of Gokulam FC, who are now left wondering where the club will play its home matches in the future. The club is now considering shifting to the Manjeri stadium, which is located in the neighboring district of Malappuram.
Manjeri to gain as Gokulam FC considers shifting to new base
The Manjeri Stadium is a much newer stadium than the Kozhikode Corporation stadium. The move to Manjeri would be a major boost for football in Malappuram. The district has a long history of football, and it has produced some of the best players in India. The move would also be a major blow to Kozhikode, which has a large fan following in the city, and the club’s matches are always well-attended. The club’s absence from Kozhikode will deprive the fans of the opportunity to watch top-level football.
The decision of Gokulam FC to consider shifting to Manjeri is a clear sign that the club is not happy with the way the Corporation has handled the situation. While the club authorities are disappointed with the ongoing dispute, V.C. Praveen (Gokulam Kerala FC president) reacts to the Kozhikode Corporation’s decision and says the club may consider leaving Kerala.
Quotes of Gokulam Kerala FC president
Mr Praveen said, “Before Gokulam was taken over, the condition of the ground was very deplorable. The ground has been prepared so that national competitions can be held. Gokulam spends around eight crore rupees per year on the team. Not even a single rupee is earned from this. If Kerala does not need the team, it will also consider moving to other states.”
It remains to be seen how this situation will play out in the coming months. However, if this dispute does not find any solution, then Gokulam FC will likely move to Manjeri. While the Kozhikode Cooperation Council will have to find a way to maintain the Kozhikode Cooperation Stadium to the standards required for professional football clubs.
The statement of Gokulam FC to consider leaving Kerala is a wake-up call for the state government and the football federation. They need to address the concerns of Gokulam Kerala FC, and must need to make sure that the club has a long-term future in Kerala.