Soccer

ISL: Kerala Blasters not planning a permanent change in home venue

Kerala Blasters have no plans to shift their base from Kochi to Kozhikode for now…

Indian Super League (ISL) club Kerala Blasters are planning to conduct fan engagement activities and pre-season friendlies at the EMS Stadium in Calicut in the near future, Goal has learnt. 

On Wednesday, the club officials met representatives from the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation to discuss the possibility of playing at the Corporation-owned EMS Stadium situated at the centre of the town. Sources close to the development have told Goal that there are no plans to shift their home venue from Kochi to Kozhikode. 

The meeting held on Wednesday was a follow-up to the one held last year in November to discuss the usage of the venue in Kozhikode by the ISL club to conduct grassroots activites and the possibility of playing a few pre-season friendlies. With the Malabar region being a hotbed for football in the state, Blasters are hopeful of appeasing their fanbase by making their presence felt in that part of Kerala. 

Kerala Blasters was represented by Muhammed Rafique, Siddharth P Sasi and Joby Job John and the discussion was centred around their request in November.

Unless they are forced out, the Kochi is likely to remain the club’s home venue for the foreseeable future. At best, the EMS Stadium, which is currently home to I-League club Gokulam Kerala, could be shared with Blasters for a couple of ISL games in future. For that to happen, there is work that needs to be done at the venue to meet the requirements of the league.

For the last three years, Kozhikode-based club Gokulam Kerala have struck a deal to use the stadium to play their league games. The Malabarians are in charge of maintaining the stadium after having leased it free of charge last year on a trial basis. The I-League club has already submitted a written request to the Municipal Corporation last week for the renewal of their contract for the upcoming season.

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VC Praveen, the club president, expects Gokulam Kerala to continue their usage of the venue. “We are expecting our request to be approved and that we will be playing at the EMS Stadium next season. It would be unprofessional and unethical for another club to invade our home but I am sure Kerala Blasters will not do that,” he told Goal

The matter will be discussed further in the next meeting between officials from the ISL club and the Corporation which is scheduled for June 10, 2020.  

 

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