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20 Mar 2018

Kochi Turf: A bone of contention between cricket and football

Kochi is a sticky wicket for Kerala Cricket

The Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi has become a bone of contention between the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) and football enthusiasts.

This comes amid reports that the KCA plans to use stadium to host one ODI between India and West Indies in November.

It would mean the FIFA-approved football turf would be dug up to convert it into a cricket pitch.

In context

Kochi is a sticky wicket for Kerala Cricket
JLN: One of the few FIFA-approved Indian pitches

Venue summary

JLN: One of the few FIFA-approved Indian pitches

JLN stadium is one of only six football pitches in India that are approved by FIFA. It is also the home ground of ISL franchise Kerala Blasters.

While it has hosted ODI matches in the past, the last match that took place here was in 2014.

The last international cricket match awarded to Kerala was played at Thiruvananthapuram's Greenfield International Stadium, in November 2017.


How will digging up affect the football pitch?

While there is the issue of planned ODI clashing with the 5th season of ISL, there is the bigger issue of ground being damaged.

For the ODI to happen, a minimum of five pitches need to be laid.

This would require damaging the football pitch drainage system, wherein the flat surface will be dug up so it slopes towards the boundary .

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Celebrities rally for support


Celebrities rally for support

Several celebrities, including star footballers from Kerala Blasters, took to social media to rally against the KCA's move to dig up the Kochi turf.

Kerala Blasters striker CK Vineeth in a series of tweets expressed his displeasure with the decision.

He said, "I believe that for sport to co-exist, it is important that they do not stop each other from growing."

Tharoor bats for football

KCA's stand

KCA unlikely to budge?

KCA President Ronklin John said that they were forced to move the November 2017 T20I match between Indian and New Zealand from Kochi to Thiruvananthapuram due to FIFA World Cup.

He called it a one-off incident as they had to respect FIFA regulations.

"We will definitely want to conduct the ODI in Kochi now that the World Cup is over," he said.

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