GUWAHATI, April 13 – It has certainly been a great news for the football buffs of not only Assam but also the entire Northeastern region that the Guwahati team for the forthcoming Indian Super League (ISL) has been purchased by Bollywood star John Abraham and Shillong Lajong.
But big question arises, whether city will be able to host the cash rich mega event? Way back in September last an MoU was signed between the Sports Authority of Assam (SSA) and IMG Reliance for the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Sarusajai, the proposed venue for the ISL. According to the MoU, IMG Reliance will pay rent for the stadium and it will be renovated by the SSA. The SSA submitted a proposal to the State’s Finance Department seeking Rs 12.5 crore for repairing the ground and upgrading other infrastructure of the Sarusajai stadium.
But to the utter surprise of the SSA and sporting circle of the State, the file was hushed up and was finally returned on March 31 with a note that proposal has to be submitted in new financial year.
Till date the entire stadium is in a deplorable condition as no renovation work could be started due to lack of fund.
The Assam Football Association secretary Ankur Dutta informed that next week a delegation of the Guwahati team franchise will visit the stadium to take stock of the present condition. And the present state of the stadium will definitely not impress the delegation.
If it happens, Guwahati will miss the bus for hosting the high profile championship where several world class players are scheduled to take part.
Dutta however said, if the renovation works can be started next month, there will be some possibility to make it ready for the next September’s tournament. He further said, if Assam loses the tournament, people of Assam will blame the bureaucrats of the State’s Finance Department for their negligence if clearing the SSA proposal.