Pune, Kolhapur alternative venues for Mumbai I-League ties

Mumbai: Pune and Kolhapur have been kept as reserve venues for holding the I-League home ties of three Mumbai-based clubs to allow laying of FIFA-sanctioned synthetic football turf at the Cooperage ground here.

Cooperage ground’s caretakers, Western India Football Association, are planning to go ahead and lay the turf as soon as the I-League calendar is announced by the All India Football Federation, WIFA official Wali Mohammed said today.

“We have kept Pune and Kolhapur as the alternative venues. The laying of the (Greenfield) synthetic turf will go ahead once AIFF announces the dates of the I-League,” WIFA assistant secretary Mohammed said at a media conference here.

Three Mumbai teams - Air India, Mumbai FC and the promoted ONGC - have qualified for the coming season’s I-League competition.

Rob de Heer, of Dutch firm Greenfield which has been given the job of laying the synthetic turf, said once the go-ahead is given it will take four months for the job to be completed and the turf to be certified.

“The turf can host up to 2000 playing hours,” he said, adding on an average the synthetic turf, which has also got the approval of the International Hockey Federation, lasts for eight to ten years before it gets worn out.

The cost of laying a similar turf at any other venue would work out to between Rs 3.5 and 4 crore, it was announced.