PANAJI: “The I-League will start on January 9, 2016,” I-League CEO Suanando Dhar told The Navhind Times. Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar FC are yet not sure which ground they will use as their home ground. Salgaocar FC has written to Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) for permission to use the Tilak Maidan in Vasco while Sporting Clube is thinking of using the east side of the Fatorda stadium. The SAG is yet to take a call.
“The situation is a bit tricky now. We have written to SAG to be allotted the east side of the Fatorda stadium. If we do not get Fatorda we will use the ground being used by Salgaocar. The Duler ground is not possible because of lack of floodlights and the artificial turf,” stated Sporting Clube de Goa CEO Victor Fernandes.
“Salgaocar FC has decided to hold our home games at Tilak Maidan, Vasco. We have already written to the SAG for the ground,” stated club secretary Adlear d’cruz.
“We have received Salgaocar FC’s letter. It is under active consideration. Since they are from Vasco they are on top of the priority list. But, there will be certain conditions they will need to fulfill,” stated SAG Executive Director Sandip Jacques.
The SAG grounds are in need of uplifts with the AFC Cup scheduled in Goa in 2016 and the U-17 World Cup in 2017. “A lot of standards have to be met. There is quite a lot of work in Vasco. The east stand at Fatorda could be given out because work in Fatorda is largely confined to the south side,” Sandip Jacques told The Navhind Times.
With Pune FC and Bharat FC out of the I-League and DSK-Shivajians in, the I-League will this year be played between ten teams in contrast to eleven last season. “Pune FC and Bharat FC did not pass the AFC licensing criteria test. DSK-Shivajians have applied and are in,”Sunando Dhar explained.
With ninety per cent of the I-League games set to be telecast live, floodlights are a pre-requisite. Hence, the scarmble for venues with floodlights. “Bambolim is a nice venue for Sporting Clube. However, since it is set to undergo a lot of work including the laying of a new pitch, no club can avail it,” stated a source close to SAG and Sporting Clube.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is set to release the draw somewhere around the first week of December, according to I-League CEO Dhar.