Football thrown out of Indian stadium for 2 months

Indian football is crying foul following the "hijack" of New Dehli's Dr Ambedkar Stadium by central government departments. Football has been banned from the ground for at least two months following the Ministry of Rural Development's decision to use the facility to host 5,000 village chiefs from across the country during the Nirmal Gram Purashkar-2007. MCD spokesperson Deep Mathur said since President A P J Abdul Kalam would preside over the function the stadium was the best venue from the security angle. “We usually ensure that slots booked for sports events do not coincide with other events,” Mathur said. “But we could not make any changes in this case because it is an important event.”

Among football events disrupeted are state camps for national tournaments, institutional league and the Asian Football Comfederation's ‘Vision India’ program with the Delhi Soccer Association. “We are helpless,” DSA President Subhash Chopra told Aditya Kumar of Express india. “We tried our best to stop it but the MCD says it is the ministry’s function and nothing can be done about it.”

Chopra took over the reins at DSA in August 2006 with several promises to resurrect the capital city’s footballing fortunes and had been assured that DSA would have full control over the stadium. “What can I do if no one is concerned about sports? Yes, I promised to get control over Dr Ambedkar Stadium, but the issue has gone beyond me now,” he said.