The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21), scheduled to begin in Goa on November 20, has run into trouble. The Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) has threatened to halt preparations for the tournament, alleging that local vendors have not been offered any logistical contracts and that all the work has been outsourced.
The development comes days after Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant was forced to intervene and solve a conflict between local transport operators and the organisers as the former threatened legal action against the ISL for using other State vehicles for transportation within Goa.
Talking to Sportstar on Tuesday, GPCC vice president Sankalp Amonkar said his party would disrupt the ISL’s preparations if contracts were not offered to local vendors in four days.
“The association of bus owners came to us and told us that they are not given any contracts. They said that vehicles from other states were being used. Then the power generator vendors came to us and said that generators have been brought from other states. The locals that used to supply the computers during the matches have also not got contracts this year. None of the business has been given to the local people.
“Even the main contractor is not a local, we want the sub-contracts to be given to local vendors. Earlier, the locals used to get contracts every year when the ISL games are held in Goa, but nobody is getting it now. We don’t have a problem that the matches are being held, the problem is that the locals are not getting any benefit from the tournament,” he said.
He stated that the issue was not with the organisers of the ISL, but with the government. “We don’t have any issues with the organisers of the ISL. We just want the Goan people to gain some benefit from the tournament. People have suffered because of the pandemic and now when games are being held here, the locals must benefit.”
Amonkar also pointed out that Goa's Sports Minister, Manohar Ajgaonkar, had said the ISL would offer business opportunities for locals. “There was a statement from the Goan Sports Minister that if the ISL is held here then the maximum employment will go to the locals and that the local economy would grow. When he has said, then why are the Goans not getting any benefit?”
He added, “We don’t want to spoil the name of our state. We are only hurt because our people are not getting any benefit and all the contracts are being given to non-locals.”
The teams are currently playing pre-season matches as they prepare for the start of the tournament. The entire season will be played in Goa owing to the coronavirus pandemic. All matches will be held across three stadiums - the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim and the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco.
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