Officials under fire for lack of facilities

Officials under fire for lack of facilities

BDFA responsible for Venkatesh death: Players

Players, coaches and friends of Venkatesh slammed the Bangalore District Football Association and its parent body Karnataka State Football Association for not caring for the players’ needs, which they believed played a big part in the death of Bangalore Mars’ player Venkatesh Dhanraj.

sudden death: Bangalore Mars’ D Venkatesh is carried off the pitch by officials after he collapsed during the BDFA ‘A’ Division match on Wednesday. DH photo/ srikanta sharma R

“I have raised the issue of player security a million times, and every time it’s been dumped into a dustbin,” fumed former player M Kanniyan, who was present at the Bowring Hospital where post mortem on Venaktesh’s body was being conducted.

“There is no basic infrastructure in place. First and foremost, an ambulance with proper medical staff should be on stand by for every match. Considering the State had already witnessed the death of Cristiano (Junior) in 2004, they should have known the importance of medical emergency.

“The problem is that most players who play football in Bangalore hail from extremely modest backgrounds. We players are always being treated as slaves. It’s almost like dictatorship; if we don’t listen to them then we are shunted out,” added Kanniyan, who requested the All India Football Federation to take action on BDFA.

A player from a Super Division club, who hails from Bangalore’s football heartland of Gowthampura where Venk­atesh also lived, echoed Kanniyan’s views. “Whenever we players raise a concern we are threatened. Most players who play in the ‘A’ Division are guest players and earn Rs 50 or 100 per day. They can’t afford to lose it. Firstly, the management gives us the short shrift. Secondly, the administrators threaten us by saying we will be dropped from the squad.

“Please have a look at the dressing rooms and tell me whether it’s livable. Yet, year after year, nothing has been done. It’s not that the KSFA or BDFA does not earn revenue. What are they doing with it. If they are not bringing in revenue, don’t you think it’s time for them to quit. How long do that want to hold us to ransom?” questioned the player who requested for anonymity.

Another seasoned player felt the lack of medical support is a nationwide issue. “I’ve played in many States across the country and the lack of medical support is there everywhere. After Cristiano’s death, the AIFF made it mandatory that all matches should have an ambulance and medical staff on standby throughout for I-League ties.

“While it is followed diligently by I-League authorities, the State leagues don’t seem to care much about. The common reason they cite is lack of funds. How difficult is it to organise a tie-up with a nearby hospital.

“It’s really sad that such a tragedy has struck Bangalore for the second time. But knowing them, I don’t think they’ll change. Things might get better for the remainder of the league, but next season it’ll be back to square one. Certain things won’t change in Bangalore football, hope they prove me incorrect.”