FC Goa players arrived in Kolkata on Friday but surprisingly, they were not allowed to practice at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (Saltlake Stadium) ahead of their clash against their arch rivals Atletico de Kolkata on Sunday.
This left the FC Goa gaffer absolutely gutted as they were unable to practice at the stadium pitch. The rules say that the away team should get a chance to practice at the stadium for 45 minutes ahead of the match.
The pitch is not in a good condition and thus the home side were also not allowed to train at the venue. But Atletico de Kolkata have already played four home games and by now they are familiar with the turf.
"I think there is a rule that the hosts should let us practice at the turf 45 minutes ahead of the match. The hosts did not treat us well. We did not get a good ground to practice and it is disrespectful. I would not have turned up for the press conference but it is out of respect I have come," FC Goa coach Zico told the reporters at the press conference on Saturday.
"When the away team comes to Fatorda Stadium to play a game, we leave the ground for the away team to get the feel of the turf ahead of the match."
FC Goa have been assigned the Mohun Bagan Atheltic Club ground for their practice session where they will practice for an hour. Meanwhile, Atletico de Kolkata is practising at the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation ground in Saltlake.
"The League organizers said the turf is in a precarious condition and if any team is allowed to train, the turf will get further damaged," a senior official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Atletico de Kolkata faced similar problems even before the start of the tournament when the players did not get to practice before they played the opening game against Chennaiyin FC. As a result, they had to practice at the Barasat Stadium, and above all this, the arrangement was made at the last hour.
Here is what the article 2.19 states:
"If the main pitch is not in good condition or training sessions would negatively affect the state of the main pitch for the match, the match commissioner may decide otherwise."
According to article 2.16:
"Official practice pitches and facilities are in good condition and in compliance with minimum requirements set out in the Operational Guidelines at suitable times for away club, at least two days prior to each match day."