Calcutta: The East Bengal coach was fuming after Thursday’s Tata Federation Cup match at Salt Lake Stadium. The pool of mud — which resembled a ground only in pockets — was the cause of his dismay and officials concerned his target.
Not the match, but Subhas Bhowmick’s biting outburst was the highlight of the day. “It’s shameful that a major tournament is being held here. The country doesn’t deserve to play football if this remains the quality of the grounds,” a livid Bhowmick said.
“While East Bengal is trying to follow a modern approach, the country’s officials seem to be moving backwards. The tournament should be stopped if it can’t be staged on better grounds. In fact, the referee should have stopped the match.”
Bhowmick said his players will not take the field for the next match (the quarter-final against Vasco on August 4) unless there is a drastic change in underfoot conditions. “If the club forces me to, I’ll quit.”
Bhaichung Bhutia — who refused to play on the “dangerous ground” — said he will continue to stay off the field unless things change. “I have already undergone two surgeries. As professional, I can’t risk more injuries. Players have a right to say this when their future is at stake.”