JSW to develop Football Stadium

At its Annual General Body Meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, the national federation tied up with JSW Steel Limited to renovate the BFS and Rabindra Sarovar stadium in Kolkata.
“JSW, which is owned by Sajjan Jindal, will take over the stadiums in the next three-four months,” AIFF president Praful Patel told reporters after the AGM. “By next year we will be having two-three good stadiums owned by the state bodies or the AIFF.  Jindal has also been appointed the chairman of I-League.”

Hailing the decision, AIFF vice-president AR Khaleel told Deccan Herald that project was part of a wider plan to improve the infrastructure in the country. “India has hardly any world-class footballing venues. It is one of the primary reasons why the national team trains in Dubai.

“To start with, we picked facilities that are owned by State associations. The plan is to have world-class structure that includes permanent bucket seats, floodlights, media centre etc. The coast of rebuilding each stadium is estimated between Rs 100 and 125 crore.”

“Similar to the ongoing FIFA Goal Project work at Bangalore, the project will be funded by JSW while AIFF will be involved only in the construction part. JSW has shown great interest in revamping the image of football and AIFF is happy to co-operate,” added Khaleel.

Asked if the FIFA Academy will be affected by the renovation, Khaleel said there is no reason to worry. “The Academy as well the artificial pitch will be untouched. Samples were taken to check the strength of the other three wings -- northern, eastern and western. Once the sample results arrive -- expected in the three week’s time -- decision will be taken on whether to raize or rebuild on the existing structure.”

Patel also said that Mukesh Ambani had shown his interest in developing infrastructure at Mumbai’s Cooperage stadium, which is embroiled in a public interest litigation (PIL). “The PIL is nearing its end and Mr Ambani has personally shown interest in developing infrastructure at the Cooperage.”

Meanwhile,  AIFF sold its telecast and marketing rights to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)-International Management Group (IMG) for Rs 700 crore for a period of 15 years.
“We are confident that this deal will contribute to the development of Indian football. I have spoken to Ambani and he is personally interested in developing infrastructure for the game in the country,” he said.

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