Atletico de Kolkata will not get the 68,000-seater Salt Lake Stadium for the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), despite meeting with West Bengal state sports minister Arup Biswas on Thursday.

 

Biswas confirmed this new development on Friday, saying that hosting ATK’s home matches at the Salt Lake Stadium will hamper the renovations being made in preparation for the U17 FIFA World Cup next year. Instead, the West Bengal sports minister recommended the 22,000-capacity Vidyasagar Stadium in Barasat, near Kolkata, as an alternate venue.

“Hosting the Under-17 World Cup is a priority for us and we cannot let anything come in the way while getting the Salt Lake Stadium ready for the occasion,” Biswas was quoted as saying in the local edition of The Hindu.

The sports minister also revealed that the state government is spending ₹60 crores on the Salt Lake Stadium, which is why it is imperative that the renovation is not impeded.

Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan had to play most of their I-League home matches at the Vidyasagar Stadium last season. One big problem with the 22,000-seater arena is that it has an artificial turf — a surface that has been known to increase the likelihood of injuries.

Army XI go top of CFL

Last season’s runners up Army XI have moved to the top of the Calcutta Football League after a 1-0 victory over United SC on Friday. Star striker Arjun Tudu started off the season in great form as he put the Army men in the lead in the 55th minute at the Kalyani Stadium.

This win takes the Army men to the top of the league, as Tollygounge Agranami, Peerless SC, George Telegraph, and Aryan Club all registered a draw in their respective matches.

Kolkata giants East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting are yet to play their first matches of the tournament. Incidentally, Army XI and United SC are the only two clubs in the CFL who do not have any foreign players.

Tudu recently signed for ISL franchise Delhi Dynamos after impressing with his performances for Army XI in the last few years. Most recently, the 25-year-old scored a brace against Maharashtra in the final of the Santosh Trophy to help the Army men win the tournament.

Syed Nayeemuddin gets Mohun Bagan Ratna

As Kolkata observed Friday as the Mohun Bagan Day, the oldest football club in the city conferred the title of Mohun Bagan Ratna (jewel) on their former defender Syed Nayeemuddin. The Mohun Bagan Ratna is the highest accolade awarded by the club.

Nayeemuddin, who started his football career playing for Hyderabad City Police in 1962, later went on to represent all the three giants of Kolkata football — East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, and Mohammedan Sporting — during the 1960s and the 1970s. He famously captained the Indian national team at the 1970 Asian Games. The Indian footballing legend also went on to coach all the three Kolkata giants as well as the national side.

July 29th is celebrated as Mohun Bagan Day, as the Green and Maroons had famously become the first All Indian club to win the IFA shield in 1911, defeating the East Yorkshire regiment 2-1 in the final of the tournament. This victory inspired a wave of nationalistic sentiment that aided the freedom movement in colonial India in that period.

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