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The KFA and GCDA have joined hands to develop an all football purpose football stadium in Kochi...

For years on end, football fans in Kochi have lamented the absence of a football dedicated stadium in the city. Now they can finally rejoice as the Kerala Football Authority (KFA) and Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) have conjectured to jointly develop the Ambedkar stadium as a football-only venue. The KFA and GCDA are expected to sign an accord in this regard on Thursday.

The stadium, which is owned Solely by the GCDA, is to be leased out to the KFA for a period of 50 years at an annual rate of Rs. 50,000 per year. The rate will the be hiked by 15 percent every 3 years. The KFA are expected to be allowed to use the stadium for 200 days every year for football puposes. On the remaining days, the GCDA are expected to host football events.

Football training camps, inter-university tournaments and inter-district games are just some of the events the KFA hopes to host on the newly re-structured stadium.

Hopes are also high with regard to further development of the stadium and bringing up to international standard so as to host international events. To achieve this, the KFA will look to install amenities and facilities like floodlights, lay the football turf and a raft of other facilities. Public sector services like water and electricity will be taken care of by the KFA too.

“Discussions in this regard have been continuing on for several months. This move would help both cricket and football equally. Currently both cricket and football are conducted at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, which is leased to Kerala Cricket Authority (KCA). With a new football ground, the Jawaharlal Nehru international stadium would be completely used for cricket matches. With this, both grounds can be developed to international standards,” GCDA chairman N Venugopal explained to The New Indian Epress, Kochi edition.

The development fund allocated by Hibi Eden, an MLA, is expected to be used to furbish the viewing gallery and accommodate a maximum spectator capacity of 1,000 fans. Venogopal has indicated that construction on the stadium will begin after Kochi corporation gives its not to the master plan which has been submitted to them by the GCDA.

With the work expected to be completed within a year from the date of start, an agreement has also been reached on the advertising rights and revenue front. It has been adjudicated that the KFA will hold all rights to advertisements within the stadium whereas all external advertisement revenues would be collected by the GCDA. The GCDA have also decreed that vendors and shops operating at the Ambedkar stadium will also be to shift to a new a new structure, close to the stadium, which is also being constructed by the same authority.

President of the KFA, KMA Mather, Minister K Babu and N Venugopal, chairman of the GCDA are expected to sign the agreement at a function on Thursday.