Indian communists launch regional football cup

Football interest in India is evidently crossing all boundaries. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala state is organising an international football tournament in its northern stronghold of Kannur in March/April this year. Invitations have reportedly been sent out to teams from China and the Middle East besides Indian footbal clubs such as East Bengal and Mohan Bagan. The CPM, which leads the ruling Left Democratic Front "hopes to strengthen its muscles by attracting the soccer crazy youths of Malabar, as northern Kerala is called, into the party fold," reported Ashraf Padanna.

The CPM's state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is the chairman of the 1,001-member Organising Committee that was formed to conduct of Nayanar Gold Cup Football Tournament, named in memory of E K Nayanar, Kerala’s longest serving chief minister who died three years ago. “We are really moved by the response of the soccer-loving public of the north Malabar. We are beginning it in a small way, but it will be one of the prestigious soccer events,” said CPM Kannur district secretary P Sasi who was Nayanar’s political secretary during 1996-2001.