I-League: Gokulam Kerala leased Corporation Stadium free of charge

The Kerala-based I-League club has reached an agreement with the Kozhikode Corporation regarding their home stadium for the 2018-19 season...

The Kozhikode Corporation will allow I-League side Gokulam Kerala to use the Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode free of charge on a trial basis for a period of one year, Goal can confirm. The club will carry out maintenance of the stadium during this period. 

The I-League side used the EMS Corporation Stadium to play their home matches in the 2017-18 season. Although the club was in talks to shift to the Manjeri Stadium this season, the move did not materialise as the stadium in Malappuram failed to meet the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) club licensing criteria. 

Club president VC Praveen confirmed the development and told Goal, "We are carrying out maintenance in the stadium for a year. It is only for a year on a trial basis. Work has not started at the Manjeri Stadium."

Gokulam Kerala's technical director Bino George explained the decision to retain their home stadium, "There is work to be done at Manjeri Stadium and we have to submit details to fulfil the AFC club licensing criteria regarding stadiums."

Although Gokulam Kerala are getting to play their home games free of charge, there is a lot of maintenance work to be done at the Corporation Stadium, according to sources close to the club. 

"The maintenance work of the stadium will cost a lot of money. The maintenance of the pitch, the floodlights etc will turn out to be expensive. Painting the stadium will cost around 20 lakh INR," a club official said. 

Gokulam Kerala finished sixth in their debut season in I-League under coach Bino George. Spaniard Fernando Valera was appointed the head coach for the 2018-19 season with Bino George taking up the role of a technical director.