Kerala Blasters not to entirely shift base to Kozhikode

ISL club Kerala Blasters has confirmed that Kochi will continue to be its home base and that it would not be shifting entirely to Kozhikode.

Kerala Blasters said that it will look at different venues across the state to be able reach out to more fans.   -  ISL Media

Kerala Blasters confirmed on Wednesday that Kochi will continue to be its home base and that it would not be shifting entirely to Kozhikode.

That means a few of its Indian Super League (ISL) matches could be played outside Kochi in the future.

“The Blasters, being a club that represents the entire State, aims to stay closely connected with its fans, from all regions, by creating an opportunity to watch KBFC matches. Hence, it will continue to identify stadiums with the required amenities across the state and transform them to international standards,” said the club.

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Meanwhile P. Anilkumar, secretary of the Kerala Football Association (KFA), suggested this move could solve many issues for the Blasters and also bring back big-time cricket to Kochi's Nehru Stadium, which is Blasters' home ground.

“I believe the real issue behind Blasters thinking of shifting the venue for some of its matches is that they can't afford the Kochi stadium. If they are joining hands with the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), they can manage everything well and remain in Kochi itself instead of running away to a much smaller stadium,” Anilkumar told Sportstar on Wednesday.

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“They can share the cost of maintaining the stadium which is huge and we can have both cricket and football in Kochi. Only thing, the schedule should be planned and communicated well before the season starts so that both can play without any hitch,” he added.

That will have the KCA's thumbs up for that's exactly what its secretary Sreejith V. Nair has in mind.

“We would like to sit together with the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), ISL and KFA to discuss everything,” said Nair whose association has taken the Nehru Stadium on a rather ineffective 30-year lease.

“And suppose we have an international cricket match clashing with the ISL, we would like to know whether cricket will be allowed in Kochi.”

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Anilkumar said an international match will always be given priority.

“The priority will always be an international match, whether it is cricket or football, because the national team is important for everyone. A domestic league is secondary. That has always been our stand and I think that's what the MOU (between GCDA, KFA and KFA) says too,” he said.

Slippery grounds for football after a cricket match have often been a problem in Kochi but the KCA secretary cited the case of Navi Mumbai's D.Y. Patil Stadium where both are played.

Probably if the authorities can protect the pitch and the turf like how it is done at the DYP, it could be a win-win situation for everybody.

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