AIFF shifts Champions Cup to Mumbai

High rates for using the pitch in Chennai, the original venue, forces the body to shift tourney base.

Kushal Das...“We are bringing international football to Chennai after so many years, and SDAT is treating it as a commercial event. It is really sad.”   -  AFP

The All India Football Federation has decided to shift the Champions Cup International football tournament - scheduled earlier in Chennai - to Mumbai. The high rates charged by Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) for using the pitch were a factor, Kushal Das, AIFF secretary informed Sportstar on Wednesday.

Blaming the SDAT, Kushal said the amount charged by SDAT as too high, and that the Federation cannot pay what he termed as exorbitant. “We are bringing international football to Chennai after so many years, and SDAT is treating it as a commercial event. It is really sad,” said Das. The AIFF secretary added that Mumbai charges much less than what SDAT had asked for.

Early on Wednesday, SDAT had given permission to the host Tamil Nadu Football Association (TFA) to conduct the tournament with the following rates: Rs. two lakh per match, practice session per day Rs. 75,000 and another Rs. 75,000 (if the teams train at the Nehru ‘B’ ground). “Apart from this, there are charges for electricity, floodlights, electricity and others,” said Das.

Jesiah Villavarayar, the president of TFA, has been interacting with top SDAT officials to convince them to reduce the tariff, but his talks didn’t succeed.

Now, the senior national football team which is scheduled to arrive in the city on August 11, will train in Andheri, Mumbai. Initially announced as a four-nation tournament, the Champions Cup has been reduced to three with India, St. Kitts & Nevis and Mauritius confirming their participation.