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The stadium at Mapusa was cleared by an inspection committee last week to host I-League matches, as the Fatorda stadium undergoes renovation for the Lusofonia Games

The Duler Stadium in Mapusa, Goa will host its first I-League fixture on December 30, 2012 when Salgaocar FC take on Air India. The stadium's first game was to be on December 29 between Churchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan. But the latter's fate is set to be decided this week after they were accused of violating rules in the I-League charter during the Kolkata Derby earlier this month.

Goa Football Association (GFA) vice-president (North) Lavinio Rebello said that all fixtures involving Mohun Bagan against Goan clubs would be indefinitely deferred till a final decision is made by the All India Football Association (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee.

The Duler stadium was chosen as the alternate venue to host the home games of the Goan clubs participating in the I-League namely - Dempo SC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Salgaocar FC and Churchill Brothers, after the Fatorda Stadium was identified for renovation in preparation for the Lusofonia Games in November 2013.

All matches at the Duler will be held during the afternoon owing to the absence of floodlights. "Except for the medical room, all other requirements have been met with even separate arrangements for the press," said Lavinio to Herald-Goa.

Salgaocar secretary Raj Gomes, who was part of the inspection committee that cleared the Duler for I-League action, expressed happiness with the arrangements at the venue.

"All suggestions given by the I-league clubs have been carried out by the GFA. The turf is excellent, and the best available in Goa at the moment. It’s the 2012 model, which can do without watering,” remarked Gomes. 

The Duler is set to host its first I-League match

The violence that occurred during the Kolkata Derby on December 9, that resulted in Mohun Bagan's Syed Rahim Nabi being struck by a missile thrown from the stands has prompted Gomes to ask for netting to be installed in the stands to avoid such incidents. The request has been taken seriously by the GFA and Lavinio said that the order for the netting has been placed.

"From the security point of view, sufficient number of bouncers will be positioned adequately in the stands whose job will be to watch the spectators and not the match," stated Lavinio.

"Players and match officials’ safety is of paramount importance and we have to request the spectators not to throw missiles as the AIFF is very strict on such matters, and the GFA will face strict disciplinary action including imposition of hefty fine and even suspension of the venue," stressed Lavinio, who prayed for incident-free organization with the support and cooperation of all fans.

Meanwhile, GFA Executive Committee member Savio Messias was ecstatic that the plans initiated at the time when he was the General Secretary taken shape. "The plans are the same and they were chalked out with help from Peter Vaz and even submitted by two of us, nearly two-and-half years ago, just before the present committee took over. There are no changes in the master plan following the additional land given by the Government at that time," stated Savio.

"The artificial turf, no doubt, is the best one available in the State and it is a gift to all Bardez clubs and football fans from the North. The AIFF and FIFA need to be congratulated for having provided such an excellent material and it needed to be inaugurated as it marks a new chapter in providing quality infrastructure for the benefit of players, who in the past because of the hard surface had to suffer from arthritis and knee problems," stressed Savio.

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