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Death shadow over HAL home ties

sports Updated: Apr 06, 2012 00:59 IST
Amoy Ghoshal

Football in Bangalore made headlines for all the wrong reasons last month as 27-year-old striker D Venkatesh of first division side Bangalore Mars suffered a cardiac arrest while playing and died on arrival at the hospital. Both the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) and Bangalore District Football Association (BDFA) were rightly criticised for not providing adequate medical facilities.

Matches of all divisions of the state league in Karnataka have been indefinitely postponed since. The state's only I-League representative, HAL, also had their March 27 home match against Pailan Arrows deferred to April 28.

Here to play Mohun Bagan on Friday, HAL aren't sure whether their remaining two home games, against Pune FC (April 10) and Mumbai FC (April 14) will take place as per schedule. If they are postponed to May, the bottom-rankers could face a huge problem as most of their players are contracted only till the first week of next month when I-League 5 is scheduled to finish.

“All football in the state has been postponed because of Venkatesh's death. We still haven't heard from the KSFA and BDFA on whether our other two home matches will take place as scheduled," said HAL manager M Muralidharan on Thursday.

“Initially we were informed that at least for a month there wouldn't be any matches in Bangalore because there was a lot of tension following Venkatesh's death. Most of our players have contracts till the first week of May so if the I-League stretches too long it will be a problem. We might even have to consider playing those two games at a neutral venue.”