Indian Football

Kolkata derby, Kochi ISL game set to be rescheduled after police cite inadequate resources

East Bengal’s clash against Mohun Bagan on January 13 might be postponed, while the fate of Kerala’s New Year’s eve match against Bengaluru is unclear.

The All-India Football Federation’s scheduling capabilities have come under the scanner after police departments in Kolkata and Kochi expressed inability to provide security for two high-profile clashes in the I-League and the Indian Super League respectively.

According to sources, the Kolkata police department has informed the AIFF expressing its inability to provide adequate security for the second Kolkata derby of the ongoing I-League season, scheduled to be held in Kolkata on January 13.

Meanwhile, the Kochi police department has informed authorities that they will have their hands full managing New Year’s eve celebrations on December 31 when the high-profile game between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC is scheduled to be held in the city.

Due to the development both games are likely to be rescheduled.

The I-League derby, that features legacy clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, is a marquee event in India’s football calendar and was held without any incident at the Salt Lake Stadium on December 3. This time around, the police expressed concern keeping in mind the game’s evening kick-off time of 5.30pm.

The game is likely to be held a week later, sources added.

Authorities are now contemplating whether to hold the ISL clash between Bengaluru and Kerala a few days earlier or schedule it for a later date.

Organisers of the franchise league do provide for internal security measures but the responsibility for fan safety in and around the stadium falls within the jurisdiction of the police.

The AIFF’s scheduling this season has left a lot to be desired. Earlier, Mohun Bagan’s opening tie of the I-League against defending champions Aizawl was shrouded in uncertainty due to scheduling conflict with the ISL.

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