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Keenan to play host

Keenan Stadium is in competition with Gopal Maidan as a venue for the final round of the 34th Federation Cup football tournament.

Keenan, which has been tagged a “cricket exclusive” stadium, has come into contention to host the prestigious event. The tournament is scheduled here from September 19 to 24. The semi-final will not be played in Jamshedpur due to lack of floodlights.

Earlier, JRD Tata Sports Complex and Gopal Maidan in Bistupur were earmarked as the venues for the final round matches.

But Keenan was also marked as a venue after a meeting between AIFF vice-president Ankur Dutta, Tata Steel vice-president Sanjiv Paul and sports department head Captain Amitabh.

At a news meet on Wednesday, Paul said Keenan will be decked up for the Cup matches. “We are already dismantling the damaged galleries located beside the media centre. Spectators can be accommodated in galleries which are in good condition,” he added. He said Tata Steel was looking forward to hosting the meet.

Dutta, who is also chairman of the Federation Cup, said the AIFF generally holds the Cup in cities where there are no I-League teams. “It’s good that Jamshedpur is hosting the Cup. We are thankful to Tata Steel for this gesture,” he added.

According to Dutta, both the semis will be in Siliguri, the other Cup venue, as there is no floodlight facility here. “But Jamshedpur boasts of adequate infrastructure to hold international football matches.”

On the Ranchi misadventure, Dutta said they had allotted the Cup to Siliguri and Assam but since there was some problem in the latter state, Ranchi was handed the responsibility for hosting Group A and D matches.

“Sports authorities should seriously think about utilising the facilities in Ranchi,” he added.