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ISL 2017: Why FC Goa's complaints on fixture congestion are not justified?

1:12 PM IST 29/12/17
FC Goa ISL 4 2017/2018
Sergio Lobera's side were not pleased at the latest fixture rejig by Indian Super League (ISL) but are they justified in feeling so?

When the Indian Super League (ISL) authorities announced a reshuffle in fixtures due to several factors including AFC Cup commitments for Bengaluru FC, stadium unavailabilities and security concerns, it was FC Goa who were peeved the most. 

The side from Western India saw their away game against ATK, originally scheduled to be held on 31st December 2017, shifted to 3rd January 2018 due to security concerns raised by the Kolkata police about the match being played on New Year's eve. 

The reason FC Goa were angered was that the reshuffle meant they will have to play three matches in nine days as a result, with an away trip to NorthEast United beckoning on January 6th and a home game against Jamshedpur FC scheduled for January 11th. 

Though one of the main reasons for a longer season of ISL this time around was to avoid the fixture congestion that hampered teams in the previous editions apart from the addition of two new teams, there are phases where every team will have to go through such a congested period. 

In fact, most leagues around the world will have periods where fixtures pile up and how a team negotiates them is one of the hallmarks of how the season will be defined for them. 

In this case, what is to be noted is that most teams in the ISL are slated in for a tough run of fixtures at least twice during the league stage. FC Goa, on the other hand, had only one slightly congested period where they were required to play three games in eight days between February 21st to 28th. 

The rescheduling of the ATK fixture has meant there will be two such periods during the course of the season for FC Goa. But when you take a closer look at the fixtures, one will see that all other teams have such issues. It is not a problem endemic to FC Goa. 

Delhi Dynamos play three games in eight days twice during the season (7 Jan - 14 Jan & 21 Feb - 27 Feb) while the same is applicable to Bengaluru FC (14 Dec - 21 Dec & 3 Feb - 9 Feb) who also have AFC Cup commitments in between. 

ATK, Mumbai City and Chennaiyin FC also have the same predicament, having to play three games in a short span twice during the season. FC Pune City endured what was the toughest start to the ISL of all teams, playing four games in 12 days. Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC, Jamshedpur FC have all already gone through one such phase without being aggrieved. 

NorthEast United FC, on the other hand, have a huge pileup in February where they will play five games in 14 days! Kerala Blasters also have a similar issue in January where they play four games in 11 days. 

Which is why FC Goa's complaints about the fixture change do not hold valid ground. Every team is going through such phases and The Gaurs, who are playing attractive football and look one of the favourites to reach the playoffs, should just get on with the game.