Construction of a football stadium in the heart of Bengaluru in Karnataka is yet to be completed even after 50 years.
This might as well get the top spot in the world of records — a football stadium not being complete even after 50 years.
The Bangalore Football Stadium is akin to the ruins of the Vijaynagar Empire. Fortunately, they have the Archaeological Survey of India to protect them. But who will ensure safety of the stadium. It is located in the heart of the city and poses a grave danger to people outside as it is in the midst of a very busy traffic zone. God forbid anything untoward.
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Spectators are not allowed to certain areas as they have been rendered weak due to the enormous delay in construction. And completion is still light years away.
Consequently, all major footballing activity is being held at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium (athletics) or the Chinnaswamy Stadium (cricket)
The construction of the football stadium began in 1967. It is still not complete after 50 years. There has been rampant corruption over the years. The Public Accounts Committee headed by BJP MLA Ekantaiah submitted a report around 1994, but that was hushed up due to political pressure.
All major football activity since 1968 has been conducted either at Sree Kanteerava Stadium or Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Stafford Cup (1977, 1978), Federation Cup (1985) and Super Soccer Series (1989, 1990,1991, 1992) were held at Chinnaswamy Stadium. With a big spurt in cricketing activity, the authorities have stopped renting it out for football.
Stafford Cup (1972, 1973, 1991, 1992), Federation Cup (2004), Asian Under-17)(1999), Asian Under-21 (1999), World Cup qualifiers (2000), Exhibition match against Hungary (1973 , I-League matches of HAL when they played (2000-01) and now Bengaluru FC (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17) have all been held at Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
Due to this, the ground and track inside the stadium cannot be used for practice or competition. The track has suffered damage prompting the Athletics Federation of India to announce sometime back that Karnataka will not be allotted any major international event if the track is not replaced.
Land at cricket stadium belongs to the army and government and it has been leased to KSCA. Land at hockey stadium has been leased to KSHA. Land at football stadium is leased to KSFA, land at Jasma Bhavan Road is leased to KSBA and KBA. Land at HAL Airport is leased to KGA.
Basketball, volleyball and other sports utilize the indoor stadium facility.
Athletics is the only sport without proper government support in Karnataka.
Why the Sree Kanteerava Stadium land and stadium should not be leased to the Karnataka Athletics Association or Bangalore Urban District Athletics Association is a question that foxes many. You can then have control over all activity and give it for football or other activity when athletes have a lean period.
Certainly, Karnataka has produced some outstanding International athletes like Kenneth Powell, Day Prabhu, Anand Shetty, David Premnath, S D Eashan, Sunil Abraham, Vandana Rao, Ashwini Nachappa, Reeth Abraham, E B Shyla, M K Asha, etc. over the years. Athletics surely deserves a far better deal than what has been dished out to them.
Ironically, the KAA President is none other than Dr G Parameshwara, Home Minister of Karnataka and KPCC Chief.
It’s time that the state government wakes up and gives athletes its due.
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