The Gaurs have invested over 1 crore INR on those pitches so far.

Indian Super League (ISL) outfit FC Goa are being forced out of their training grounds at Salvador do Mundo, Khel Now has learned. The club are currently involved in a tussle with the Panchayat and the residents of Salvador do Mundo, over the usage of the training grounds.

“These are the effects on an ongoing political battle between the Salvador do Mundo Panchayat and the region’s Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). FC Goa and the Panchayat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the grounds’ usage, on May 29, 2020. The signed MoU clearly mentions that the club do not have to pay any rent for using the grounds in the first three years. After the completion of this initial phase, both parties are to mutually agree on a rent fee, as per the MoU,” sources close to the developments informed Khel Now on Tuesday.

They further added, “Having obtained the rights to use the grounds, FC Goa built two pitches there – one for their first-team that plays in the ISL and the other for the locals. Both are proper football turfs and come with maintenance facilities, including sprinkler systems. On the pitch meant for the local residents, the club are also providing free coaching at the U-18, U-14 and grassroots levels.”

FC Goa have invested a sum total of over ₹1 crore on those pitches so far They also incur an expense of over ₹2.2 lakhs per month for the maintenance of both pitches. Trouble began when the local youths were apparently barred from using the second turf for cricket, as per Goan media. However, our sources revealed that FC Goa were fine with cricket being played there.

“Following a request from the club, the MLA of the region allowed for the provision of matting and other facilities needed to convert the football turf into a cricket pitch when needed. But, that offer was denied. Then on Sunday, the turf was dug up to build a permanent concrete pitch without any prior notice. The Panchayat’s intentions of looking to build infrastructure for cricket via a concrete pitch has never been communicated formally to FC Goa to-date. It also looks like they have misled the local residents, regarding the terms of usage of the grounds,” they said.

The turf has been dug up to build a permanent concrete cricket pitch

“The digging has damaged not only the turf, but also the sprinkler and drainage systems, which were installed for necessary maintenance,” our sources noted.

Despite their presence of over 200 football grounds in Goa, most of them remain unused due to the poor ground conditions and the cost of maintenance. On that note, it goes without saying that the activities at Salvador do Mundo have undone a lot of work put in by FC Goa and has wasted the money that was well spent for the benefit of upcoming footballers and the growth of the sport in the state.

The damage caused to the pitch, the sprinkler system and the drainage will surely force FC Goa to halt their footballing activities. From Wednesday onwards, the Gaurs’ ISL squad will train at the Sesa FA ground in Sirsaim.

Meanwhile, the club are also likely to approach the state government and move court in a bid to resolve the matter at the earliest. Khel Now tried to contact the concerned Panchayat officials and the region’s MLA, but they were unavailable for comment.

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