JN Stadium to be established as hub of football: Maken

New Delhi: Facing flak for the athletes` lack of access to venues of last year`s Commonwealth Games, Sports Minister Ajay Maken declared the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as the hub of football in the country allowing the federation to use it for 40 days every year.

Sports Authority of India (SAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the presence of Maken and AIFF President Praful Patel, wherein the football federation will be allowed to use the stadium, including the main pitch for a period of 40 days per year.

The federation has also been given the permission to use the outside practice ground of the stadium free of cost for 50 days in a year along with other necessary facilities available in the stadium for the smooth conduct of national and international football tournaments.

AIFF, on its part, would have to repair/re-lay the turf on the main pitch at the stadium at its own cost. It will also hold SAFF football tournament in December 2011, Nehru Cup football tournament 2012, international matches, domestic tournaments and for the remaining period out of 40 days, it will hold coaching camps and clinics.

The agreement will be valid for a year and can be extended further for two years on the basis of review and mutual understanding.

After the signing of the agreement, Patel requested the Minister to explore the possibility of providing residential accommodation to AIFF so that it can also set up a National Football Academy.