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AIFF's Federation Cup self-goal


The All India Football Federation, it seems, named Ranchi as one of the venues for the Federation Cup without verifying whether the grounds there were fit for football. And this despite being forewarned by one of the participating clubs.


The Morabadi Football Stadium in Ranchi was found unfit and so the AIFF turned to the nearby Mega Sports Complex in Hotwar, on the outskirts of Ranchi. Both the multi-purpose venues were used for the 2011 National Games. But it was learnt that the Hotwar venue too isn't ready. So the AIFF has now been forced to look at alternatives.


The JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, which is scheduled to host the qualifying matches from Tuesday, seems the most likely option.


"We are still awaiting the inspection report but from what I have heard, both venues in Ranchi are unfit. We might have to shift the matches to Jamshedpur but we will only make it official after going through the report," an AIFF official, who didn't want to be quoted as he wasn't authorised to talk to the media, told HT on Sunday.


Dempo coach and general secretary Armando Colaco said: "I had found out from my friends in Ranchi that the grounds aren't fit to host the competition and had written to Kushal Das (AIFF general secretary) for an inspection. AIFF had plenty of time to inspect and then announce the venue. Now this change will affect everyone, especially because we may have to play afternoon matches."


No floodlights

The JRD Tata Sports Complex doesn't have floodlights and that means matches would kick off in the afternoon heat. Among others who will be affected by this change are Salgaocar, United SC, Pune FC, Mumbai FC and United Sikkim. Floodlights though are available at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri, the other venue.


Last month, the AIFF announ-ced that matches of two quarter-final groups and one semi-final will be held in Ranchi.  Siliguri would host the two other groups, a semi-final and the final.


The Federation Cup is the most important competition in the AIFF calendar as the winners qualify for the AFC Cup, a second-tier continental competition.


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