For the past few years, Gokulam Kerala F C has routinely held home games at the Kozhikode Cooperation Stadium in front of a devoted fan base. However, the Kozhikode Cooperation Council has now banned the club from the stadium.
As a result of claims that the stadium was not maintained in accordance with the terms of the contract, the Kozhikode Corporation has chosen not to renew the contract for training and games at the Kozhikode Corporation EMS Stadium.
One of the most prosperous football clubs in India is Gokulam Kerala F C. Despite only being founded in 2017, the club has already had a significant impact on Indian football. The team won the Durand Cup in 2019. And the I-League twice in a row in the seasons 2020–21 and 2021–22. The club has additionally participated in the AFC Champions League, the top club football competition in Asia.
They became the country’s first club to compete in the AFC Women’s Club Championship in 2021. The Women’s Football team just made the Gokulam name proud by winning the IWL title for the third consecutive year before the action of the Corporation’s expulsion.
Claims made by the Kozhikode Corporation against Gokulam Kerala
Gokulam received the stadium allocation in 2018. “The stadium was not maintained as per the terms of the contract with Gokulam FC, and therefore it was decided not to renew the contract for training and matches at the stadium, ” according to the corporation.
Although the Corporation has stated that it will extend an invitation to other teams to use the stadium. It is unknown if any of those teams would be willing to make the same financial commitment as Gokulam FC. The Corporation’s choice represents a significant blow for Kozhikode’s football growth. The only club in Kozhikode with the funding necessary to compete at the highest level is Gokulam FC.
The club, on the other side, claims to have spent close to one crore rupees on stadium upkeep. The stadium is accessible for other sporting events, outside Gokulam FC matches, such as cricket. The club authorities tell out that by permitting cricket games to take place. It has become more challenging to safeguard the lawn. Another claim is that although the stadium’s floodlights are operational, they are of poor quality. In this context, there have already been claims of corruption against the corporation.
The fans of Gokulam FC are now inquisitive. Where the team will hold its home matches in the future, which has left them feeling very frustrated by this development. The team is presently considering relocation to the neighbouring Malappuram district’s Manjeri stadium.
Manjeri will benefit as Gokulam Kerala FC thinks of relocating to a new base
The Kozhikode Corporation stadium is substantially older than the Manjeri Stadium. Football in Malappuram would benefit greatly from the move to Manjeri. Football has a lengthy history in the area, and some of India’s top players have come from there. The decision would also deal a severe blow to Kozhikode. Which has a sizable local fan base and consistently draws large crowds to its games. The lack of the club will prevent Kozhikode’s supporters from seeing top-tier football.
Gokulam F C’s consideration of moving to Manjeri is a blatant indication. That the club is dissatisfied with how the Corporation has handled the situation. While the Gokulam Kerala F C president, V.C. Praveen, expressed his reaction to the Kozhikode Corporation’s decision. And expressed disappointment with the ongoing conflict, the club may be considering leaving Kerala.
Gokulam Kerala FC president said
Mr Praveen said, “Before Gokulam was taken over, the condition of the ground was very deplorable. The ground has been prepared so that national competitions can be held. Gokulam spends around eight crore rupees per year on the team. Not even a single rupee is earned from this. If Kerala does not need the team, it will also consider moving to other states.”
How this situation develops in the upcoming months is still uncertain. However, Gokulam FC will probably relocate to Manjeri if this conflict cannot be resolved. In contrast, the Kozhikode Cooperation Council will need to figure out a method to keep the Kozhikode Cooperation Stadium up to the standards expected of professional football clubs.
A wake-up call has been given to the state government. And the football federation by Gokulam FC’s declaration that they may contemplate leaving Kerala. They must resolve the grievances of Gokulam Kerala FC and guarantee the team’s long-term survival in Kerala.
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