Football or Athletics? Kanteerava Stadium caught in a crossfire

The use of the Sree Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium by footballers has yet again irked track and field athletes, who feel that their training routine has been severely disrupted.

In 2014, the government had leased the stadium for a period of three years to JSW (the owner of I-League football club, Bengaluru FC).   -  K. Murali Kumar

The use of the Sree Kanteerava Outdoor Stadium by footballers has yet again irked track and field athletes, who feel that their training routine has been severely disrupted. The track lanes run around the football pitch at the stadium.

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In 2014, the government had leased the stadium for a period of three years to JSW (the owner of I-League football club, Bengaluru FC). It is up for renewal shortly, and Karnataka Athletics Association vice-president, Ashwini Nachappa, believes that football cannot co-exist with track and field.

“Track and field athletes have been disturbed by football activities for three years now. The footballers run with their spikes on the track lanes, and they also set up their dug-out on the lanes. Athletes are unable to train properly. The football pitch, where the field events like shot put and javelin take place, has also taken a severe beating. The contract is up for renewal, and we will not allow this venue to be used for football any longer,” Ashwini told Sportstar here on Monday.

Anupam Agarwal, Director, Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports (DYES), stated, “Everyone must learn to share resources. The government cannot afford to construct a separate stadium for football now. If there is intent to resolve all issues, then solutions can be found.”

On the matter of extending the lease to give JSW a longer rein, Anupam said, “The contract has not been signed yet. It is a collective decision, which will be made by various bodies in the State government. I’ve had a meeting with Ashwini today morning, and I explained the same to her.”

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