Kolkata: The Kolkata franchise of the Indian Super League (ISL), Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) will play their home matches at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium for the ISL 2016.
The 22,000-capacity stadium built in 1961 was proposed as one of the six venues to host West Bengal’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 2012 that eventually never took place. As the Salt Lake stadium was selected as one of the main venues for the Under-17 World Cup, scheduled to be held in 2017, the arena was bound for several renovations before the FIFA inspection team arrive in October. This prompted the ISL authorities to look for a new home turf for ATK for the coming season.
ISL authorities were said to have met West Bengal’s Sports Minister Aroop Biswas on the same issue, who clarified to the officials the unavailability of the ground.
“The representatives from FIFA will visit the stadium in October. It’s impossible to let them use the stadium before it. I understand the attraction of ISL is huge among football lovers but we must also understand this venue is a matter of pride for us and we must prioritise the Under-17 World Cup at the moment,” he clarified on the issue.
The Mohun Bagan ground and the Barasat stadium in Kolkata were also inspected for an alternate venue to the Salt Lake stadium, but were turned down owning to its lack of infrastructure.
ATK, under head coach Jose Molina, will host defending Chennaiyin FC in the opening fixture at their new fortress on Sunday, 2 October 2016.