ISL 2019: Odisha FC to play first three home games in Pune

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in 2020 and upgradation work at the venue has faced delays due to monsoons.

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which is the side's designated home ground, is not fully prepared owing to delays in upgradation work due to a long monsoon.   -  File photo

Odisha FC will not play its first three home games in Bhubaneswar, the team management confirmed on Saturday.

The rebranded Delhi Dynamos FC outfit will play its first three home games - against  ATK, Bengaluru FC and Hyderabad FC - at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.

The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, which is the side's designated home ground, is not fully prepared to host games owing to delays in upgradation work due to a long monsoon.

The stadium is the venue for the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, with getting the turf ready according to FIFA guidelines becoming top priority for the state government, with a December 16 deadline.

"There was tremendous delay in the withdrawal of monsoons this year, making it it the most delayed withdrawal of the monsoon in its recorded history. Due to this, there were extreme weather conditions that led to a slight delay from the original schedule, in making the ground available for the initial Odisha FC home games. We are expecting that the ground will be available for the home games of the club in mid December 2019," said R.Vineel Krishna, Director-cum-Additional Secretary of Odisha's Sports Department.

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"We tried hard to ensure that we play the home games in Bhubaneswar," Odisha FC owner Rohan Sharma said in a statement. "However, owing to persistent showers here the upgradation work has been delayed and unfortunately, things are beyond our control so we have to consider an alternative venue for the first three home games. We look forward to having Kalinga Stadium full when we have our eventual first home game," he added.

Sharma also confirmed that the other six games will go ahead as per schedule.

This change of venue gives Pune a taste of ISL action this season, after the home club Pune City FC went defunct. Here is when Odisha FC will play in Pune this season:

Fixtures in Pune

Odisha FC vs ATK - November 24

Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC - December 4

Odisha FC vs Hyderabad FC - December 11

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