Big time football returns to Nehru Stadium with I-League

April 15th, 2011 - 9:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Big time football is all set to return to the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main venue of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning to host I-League matches from the next season.

The sports ministry Thursday declared that the Nehru Stadium, built in 1982 for the Asian Games, will be made a hub for football.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary general Kushal Das told IANS that the federation is now seriously thinking of hosting some I-League matches at the Nehru Stadium, which was renovated for the Commonwealth Games at a cost of Rs.961 cores. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000.

“After sports minister Ajay Maken announced that the Nehru Stadium will be developed as the hub for football, the AIFF is now seriously thinking of having some I-League matches there,” said Das.

Das, however, ruled out having any international matches this year at the Nehru Stadium.

“There is no chance of having international matches at Nehru Stadium because the Olympic qualifiers will be held in Pune and the World Cup qualifiers in Chennai,” he said.

Maken said Thursday that the Nehru Stadium will be the hub for football and also proposed that the Delhi-based Indian Arrows, run by AIFF, could shift their base from Gurgaon to the stadium.

“In the days to come the Nehru Stadium will be the most important stadium for football. Indian Arrows can shift their base here since the stadium will be used for residential purpose for the elite footballers as well. We are trying to build residential facilities for 150 sportsperson,” said Maken.

The sports ministry said that Sports Authority of India (SAI) along with AIFF are trying to lay the main pitch and the practice pitches.

Das agreed that the turf at the Nehru Stadium is in poor shape.

“A lot of work needs to be done on the pitch and it will take some time to get everything in place before we start hosting I-League matches.”

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