With the 2010 FIFA World Cup around we have lost a little focus on what's happening in Indian football. And here some bad news in regard to infrastructure.
The tragic story surrounding the redevelopment of the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai continues. I remember I first read an article about it sometime in 1998 when a plan was made public to redevelop the ground to international standard, have an underground parking lot, a club house and other facilities. And a certain WIFA (Western India Football Association) president called Praful Patel was behind the project, but till date nothing has happened and the potential development plans are stuck in court.
On Thursday the Bombay High Court declined to vacate a stay on the construction of a world class football stadium and ancillary structures at the Cooperage Ground in South Mumbai. This means that WIFA along with the Maharashtra government cannot start any work until a final verdict has been given by the courts. And the next hearing has been fixed for September 1.
The Oval Cooperage Residents Association along with former Mumbai municipal commissioner Jamsheed Kanga had filed a petition against construction of a stadium as they say the Cooperage ground is not for professional sports, but rather a recreational ground where there shouldn't be any stadium build and open for all. But many football lovers in Mumbai say that the residents just don't want a big stadium built in front of their houses with 25,000 to 30,000 people turning up for matches.
So the status quo continues though the then Maharashtra chief minister in 2003 had agreed for a football stadium to be build at the Cooperage, but till date the old, broken stands and inadequate changing rooms are used for top class matches in the I-League and local leagues in Mumbai. And with the authorities not deciding to build another facility elsewhere football in India's financial capital continues to suffer...