Damp conditions force cancellation of matches

A. Vinod

KOCHI : With heavy rain over the last two days having left the turf at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium unplayable and thus creating a backlog of matches, the Air-India Express-60th Santosh Trophy has been extended by a day. The final will now be played on November 21 instead of November 20.

Though the city had a respite from the rain on Monday, the organisers chose to put off the matches that were to be held on Monday evening to help the ground staff to attend to the damages on the turf, caused by both the rain and the last two encounters.

All the four matches that were to be held on Monday will now be played on Tuesday — two at the FACT ground in Udyogamandal, around 20 km from here, and the other two at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

AIFF's concurrence

Announcing the revised schedule at a hurriedly convened press conference, the KFA president, K.M.I. Mather and the Match Commissioner, B.N.G. Neogi said the changes were being effected with the concurrence of the All India Football Federation president, Priyaranjan Das Munsi.

Mr. Neogi had inspected the facilities at the Navy ground in Willingdon Island and the Maharaja's College ground in the city before choosing the FACT ground.

The Match Commissioner said though the conditions at the FACT ground were quite satisfactory, he had recommended the cancellation of the day's fixtures after taking several factors into account.

"I had completed the inspection only towards noon. Normally, we have to give at least six hours notice to the teams and since travelling is also involved, I thought it better to recommend the postponement of all the matches to Tuesday."

No gates

The organising committee general convenor, K. Babu, MLA, who was present, said there would be no gates for the two matches to be played in the FACT ground.

"Entry for these matches would be free. Simultaneously, we have also decided to refund a proportion of the money collected through the sale of season tickets. But this would be done after the completion of the finals."

Revised schedule:

FACT ground, Udyogamandal: Nov. 15: Assam v Goa (Group D), 8.30 a.m.; Uttar Pradesh v Delhi (Group B), 3 p.m.

Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium: Nov. 15: Maharashtra v Bengal (Group C), 5 p.m.; Karnataka v Tamil Nadu, 7 p.m. Nov. 16: Kerala v Delhi (Group B), 5 p.m.; Services v Bengal (Group C), 7 p.m. Nov. 17: Punjab v Tamil Nadu (Group B), 5 p.m.; Manipur v Goa (Group D), 7 p.m. Nov. 18: First semifinal, 7 p.m; Nov. 19: Second semifinal, 7 p.m. Nov. 20: Losers' final, 7 p.m. Nov. 21: Final, 7 p.m.

Tuesday's matches: FACT Ground: Assam v Goa (Group D), 8.30 a.m.; Uttar Pradesh v Delhi (Group B), 3 p.m; JNIS: Maharashtra v Bengal (Group C), 5 p.m.; Karnataka v Tamil Nadu, 7 p.m.

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