Bengaluru/Kozhikode, June 4: Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) runners-up Kerala Blasters are likely play a few of their next season's home matches at Kozhikode's EMS Corporation Stadium, which is currently the base of I League outfit Gokulam Kerala FC.
From the inception of ISL in 2014, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium near Kaloor in Kochi used to be Kerala Blasters' home ground, where they enjoyed good support from the famed 'Manjappada.'
According to a report in manoramaonline.com, Blasters' decision to look for Kozhikode as a second venue is a fall out of a long-standing dispute the team management is having with Greater Cochin Development Authority, the owners of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi Corporation as well as the Kerala Football Association.
The Kerala Blasters management reportedly held discussions with representatives from the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation on Wednesday (June 3) to carry out a few structural changes required for Kozhikode's EMS Corporation Stadium so that it meets the requisite ISL norms.
Though the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi will continue to be the base of Kerala Blasters, who have a big fan base, they are planning to conduct a few engagement activities and may even host a couple of pre-season friendlies at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode as a trial run before the venue gets ready to host an ISL match.
Kerala Blasters, who finished a dismal seventh and failed to make it to the ISL play-offs last season have recently undergone a big structural change in the backroom by roping in Mohun Bagan's I League winning coach Kibu Vicuna from Spain in place of Dutchman Eelco Schattorie to change their fortunes for the next season.
However, the club recently let go Sandesh Jhingan, one of its longest-serving players and easily the most identifiable face of the club.
The 26-year-old defender had played 76 matches for the Blasters, the most by any player for the club and was part of the team for six straight seasons.
The news of ISL coming to Kozhikode though will be good news for their large number of fans in Northern Kerala, who form a lion's share of the Manjappada.