With no grounds available, multiple football tournaments have been halted.
For the first time in India, footballers have taken to the streets to protest against the lack of football grounds in a city that aims to be the sports capital of India, Guwahati. The protests took place after the Nehru Stadium, a designated football ground, was allocated to the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) for conducting Ranji Trophy matches.
Reason behind protests
Guwahati is the epicenter of football in the state and is also home to Indian Super League club NorthEast United. But unfortunately, the city has faced a shortage of football grounds for local players for quite some time now.
As a result, the All-Assam Football Players Association took to the streets in Guwahati on Sunday morning, demanding a designated football field in the largest city of the region.
The Government of Assam is taking the right steps forward to promote sports culture in the state, but the most popular sport on the planet has taken a back-seat. All the proper sports grounds in the city are allocated to the ACA. Now, the conversion of the Nehru Stadium into a cricket ground means the only football ground in the city doesn’t exist anymore.
Football tournaments halted
With no football grounds in the city, the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Trophy and the Guwahati Super Division League have been put on hold. Moreover, football coaching and other activities have also been halted.
Former NorthEast United player and Assam Football Players’ Welfare Association secretary Durga Boro also participated in the protests. Boro explained the reason behind the protests and also urged to government to hear their plea.
“We have come out on the streets for a very big reason. We don’t have grounds and stadium to play football and that’s the reason we have come out to protest. I want to request to government to provide us with a football ground to play,”
Hem Das, the President of the All-Assam Football Players’ Association also shared his thoughts on the protests. He complained about the lack of football grounds in the city. Das also put the federation’s demand in front of the concerned authorities.
“There is not a single football field made available by the government for playing football in Guwahati anymore. As a result, coaching has nearly stopped and no tournaments are being organized in the city,”
“Our demand is simple. We want the Nehru Stadium to be reopened for football. It should also be allowed in the Judges’ Field,” Das told PTI on Sunday.