New Delhi: In a strange departure from the norm, the last two group A and B matches of the ongoing Santosh Trophy football tournament at Ludhiana and Jalandhar will be played on two different days, leaving the door open for manipulation and "foul play".
Normally, when semifinal or quarterfinal berths are at stake, the last two group games are held simultaneously so as not to give advantage to the teams playing second.
President of Indian Football Association (IFA), the West Bengal state body, Subrata Dutta pointed out the anomaly.
"We have requested AIFF that the last two group A and B matches of the Santosh Trophy in Ludhiana and Jalandhar should be played simultaneously. It is a common practice all over the world and is followed in all major tournaments, including the World Cup," said Dutta, who is also All India Football Federation senior vice-president.
"It would help eliminate any suspicion of foul play and keep alive the true spirit of the tournament. We will also welcome the presence of AIFF integrity officer during the matches," he added.