A Delhi Football League match being taken place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. (Source: FootballDelhi)
They went out on the field and won a local league match comfortably. But when the players of Delhi United returned to the dressing room, they found their belongings stolen: mobile phones, wallets, bags, clothes – and even chewing gum!
The incident took place on Friday at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the heart of the national capital. The multi-sport stadium, which was the showpiece venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is home to athletes from several sports who train there every day. The venue has also hosted marquee international matches, including India’s under-17 World Cup and Indian Super League matches, apart from food festivals and concerts.
On Friday afternoon, Delhi United were to take on City FC in a Delhi Football League match, which was scheduled for 3.15pm kick-off, according to Delhi United coach Ayush Bhuttan.
“The kick-off got delayed by around 15-20 minutes but we had locked the dressing room when we left,” Bhuttan says. “The keys were with our team manager, who was in the dugout for the entire duration of the match.”
Delhi United won the match 2-0, but when they returned from the field, the players realised that most of their belongings had gone missing from the dressing room, which is situated alongside the indoor warm-up track. “When the players unlocked the dressing room and walked in, they saw everything was scattered,” Bhuttan said.
Among the items stolen were mobile phones of around 12 players, wallets and a bag belonging to one player. “They even took chewing gum from a players’ pocket,” says a team official. The club officials claim they immediately reached out to Football Delhi, the local governing body, and lodged a complaint at the Lodhi Colony Police Station.
It is learnt that the police have looked at CCTV footage from the one security camera that was functioning. Football Delhi president Shaji Prabhakaran called the incident ‘unfortunate.’ “We have to make sure the culprit is caught as soon as possible. The police is investigating the matter,” he said.