Can’t hold football matches in 5 to 9 time-slot: Kashmiri NDFA waiting for further relaxation in timing from NMC
   Date :09-Jun-2021

JSW NDFA Senior Division_
 File photo of JSW-NDFA Senior Division league match.
By Paritosh Pramanik :
WITH the pre-monsoon showers giving some respite from sultry weather and local authorities lifting lockdown-like restrictions in the city, football aficionados are out on the field to ‘warm up’ for the upcoming Euro 2020 and Copa America 2021 tournaments. But the ‘real action’ on field in the city will have to wait for a few more days. The local league tournaments organised by Nagpur District Football Association (NDFA), the football governing body of the district, won’t be taking place, at least this week. NDFA conducts leagues at its Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Football Stadium in Suyog Nagar, north Nagpur. Even though Nagpur Municipal Commissioner Radhakrishnan B has given his consent for outdoor sporting activities, the timings permitted is not feasible for football tournaments. NMC has permitted outdoor sporting activities from 5 am to 9 am and from 5 pm to 9 pm. However, according the NDFA official, the timing doesn’t allow them to host matches.
With no flood lights at its ground, the matches can not be held after 6.30-7 pm. “It is not possible for us to conduct matches in the timings permitted by the local authorities. For preparation, warm-up and actual match the 5 pm start is not feasible. “Even if we ask teams to reach the ground at 5 in the evening, the match couldn’t be started immediately. It takes at least an hour for teams to kit up and do warm-up before the match. Starting the match at 6 pm is not possible as it will get dark by 6.30-7 pm and match would remain incomplete,” explained Iqbal Kashmiri, Secretary NDFA. “Even in the morning we can’t ask teams (clubs) to reach ground at 5 am and start the match at 6 or 6.30,” Kashmiri further added. Kashmiri was of the view that if things ease down in coming days (COVID-19 related cases), NMC may give further relaxation.
“We are awaiting fresh guidelines by next Monday (June 14). I hope that COVID-19 cases reduce further in the district and NMC gives more hours for sports. Then we can think of holding matches,” Kashmiri said. NDFA would be starting with the Senior Division tournament of which only two groups’ matches are completed. “We have completed league matches of Group A and B. The remaining matches of Group C and D would be conducted once the timing is increased. “After this tournament we would start with the Elite and Super Division Leagues,” informed Kashmiri.