Poor pitch conditions mar Chennai City's home matches

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, March 5 (IANS) Just when things looked good for I-League debutants Chennai City FC who recently cleared the decks for keeping their home base at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the worsening pitch conditions have again brought the the issue back into the limelight.

Some of the visiting clubs have reportedly expressed concern over the underfoot conditions which have become uneven due to the fact that two to four local league matches are being played at the venue everyday apart from the I-League games.

"I would not say the conditions are worse but, yes, it's not great," Chennai City FC General Secretary Vikram Murali told IANS when quizzed about the development.

"There are local league matches, both senior and first division, going on at the same venue and Chennai City FC are playing there as well. The water crisis is also there in Tamil Nadu, which has added to the woes," he said.

"At the moment our hands are tied. We are trying to have our own stadium for the next season and that is already in the pipeline," he added.

The stadium issue started in the run-up to the club's I-League debut with the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu asking the club to pay Rs 3 lakh per game for using the stadium and the adjoining training ground.

The deadlock had meant that the club was only able to confirm the stadium with barely hours to go for the match against fellow I-League newcomers Minerva Punjab FC.

In January, Tamil Nadu Sports Minister K. Pandiarajan finally allowed Chennai City FC to use the stadium at subsidised rates.

Chennai are currently rock-bottom on the points table with just eight in their kitty from 11 matches.