By Pramod G
IMPHAL, Aug, 24: Bad playing field conditions coupled with poor management on side the organiser has lowered the spirit of football at the ongoing Manipur state league, 2010 which kicked off a week back participated by 12 leading football club of the state.
The Manipur State League, organised by the AMFA under the initiative of the AFC for development of football in Manipur is in its fifth year.
However, the 5th edition of the MSL has devalued the spirit of the game even as the current edition is only at its seventh match today.
The AFC and the AIFF have given strict guidelines for the MSL, but the last edition (4th) and the current one seems to going against the guidelines.
As per the AFC guidelines, all the matches in the MSL are to be played in a two tier format – home and away basis and matches are to be held preferably during holidays. However, the organiser seems to be ignoring the these guidelines reasons best known to them.
All the seven matches held so far in 5th MSL were held at one venue – Mapal Kangjeibung and the matches are being scheduled without any break for continous days.
All the participating teams in the MSL seems to be happy with the present arrangments made by the AMFA including the match schedule.
However, football fans and critics are much against the present arrangments particularly the match schedule and conditions of the playing field which has become awfully in bad shape.
This would not bring any good for development of football in the state, one football fan told IFP.
During the first three editions of the MSL, guidelines as furnished by the AFC and AIFF were strickly followed but since the last edition, the organisers seems to disobeying the guidelines, the football fan added.
According to a reliable source, the AMFA is planning to conduct all the matches of the MSL-2010 at Mapal Kangjeibung. However, it needs to be seen whether the AMFA is able to conduct all the remaining matches of the MSL at Mapal Kangjeibung.
Maintenance and development of Mapal Kangjeibung is under the sole authority of the district administration of Imphal West and the AMFA is utilising the ground on payment.
Though the AMFA is hiring the best ground available at its courtyard, football fans and critics are very much against the AMFA plan.
Just before the MSL kicked off a week back, the condition of the Mapal Kangjeibung was at its best.
Now, the MSL is only 7 matches old but the condition of the playing field has been badly damaged that it could take months to return the ground to its normal condition.
Unauthorised use of the ground by locals is one factor responsible for speedy damage of the playing field at Mapal Kangjeibung.
Good ground condition and good refereeing were two key factors in bringing development of football. However, both the criteria are lacking in Manipur.
With regard to refereeing, the MSL has witnessed some ugly scenes in the past and there is no let up in the current edition too as some ugly scenes had already occurred. This indeed is not a good sign for football development programme.
AMFA need to work out on these key issues in the best interest for development of the world’s most popular game.