The Indira Gandhi Athletics stadium was chosen as the venue, will undergo internal and structural modifications to adhere to international standards for the games...The city of Guwahati was chosen and confirmed as a venue for the upcoming IMG-Reliance league scheduled to be inaugurated in January of next year. The league is the brainchild of the commercial and marketing partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), IMG-Reliance.
To this effect the Sports Authority of Assam and representatives from IMG-Reliance signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), delegating the city of Guwahati as a venue as well as one of eight franchise teams listed.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Rana Goswami, vice-chairman of the SAA confirmed, “It was signed by their (IMG-Reliance) representative Salin and by myself and director-general Ratul Chandra Duarah on behalf of SAA, in the presence of AIFF vice-president from the Northeast, Larsing Ming Sawyan in Guwahati."
“According to the MoU, the city will play host to seven matches and the rent for the infrastructure will be Rs 2 lakh per match. Besides, the organisers (IMG-Reliance) will pay Rs 60,000 per day as rent for ground preparation and pre-match practice days. An amount of Rs 25 crore will also be deposited with us as security,” he added.
Highlighting the level of work being carried out to make the Indira Gandhi International stadium capable of hosting the matches, Goswami explained, “Tender has been floated for installation of additional lights at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium. The turf development work will commence on Monday. Other related works will also be completed well ahead of time.”
Among the renovations, major changes are expected to the turf, the dressing and washrooms. Refitting of the stadiums floodlights is also expected, with the number of flux-intensity brightners doubling from the already installed one thousand.
“This is a new chapter added to the history of football in the Northeast. I would like to personally thank the Assam chief minister for taking the initiative. Being an AIFF vice-president from the region, I had an opportunity to brief him about the league. I told him that it was necessary for the region to be part of this new venture in football after the region is represented in the I-League and Guwahati is the only city that qualifies for it. He took it up quite seriously and ensured the city as a venue,” elucidated Larsing Ming.
IMG-Reliance officials also inspected the venue around two months ago and suggested possible reworks, after which the Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Assam, directed the all necessary steps to be taken by the respective departments in charge.
“This is going to help football grow by leaps and bounds in this talent pocket of the nation,” added Ming.
“Every venue city is bound to be a franchise team owner. Thus, Guwahati will definitely be a franchise team,” expressed Ankur Dutta, Assam Football Association (AFA) Secretary.
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