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Wrangling delays football academy

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Bharti group's proposed plan to set up a world-class football academy in Cuncolim at Goa is still in troubled waters, reports Abhishek Hore.

sports Updated: Mar 29, 2008 18:44 IST
Abhishek Hore

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Bharti group's proposed plan to set up a world-class football academy in Cuncolim at Goa is still in troubled waters. The proposal, which hit a roadblock after locals resorted to protests two weeks ago, has now been hit by political wrangling. At loggerheads are Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao, who is also the president of the Goa Football Association (GFA) and Housing Minister and former Fransa president Mickey Pacheco.

While the State Urban Development Authority (SUDA), which is under the Ministry of Urban Development headed by Alemao, owns the allotted land, a source quoting Pacheco said, "The land still belongs to the Housing Board and in no way I am going to give it to anyone. "The Goa Cabinet cleared the academy but Pacheco vehemently opposed the move," the source added.

Replying to Pacheco's claims, Alemao said, "no individual can change the Cabinet's decision".

"The Cabinet has cleared the academy and there is no doubt it will come up. I don't understand the confusion," said Alemao, who is also the MLA from Cuncolim.

Even though the source quoted Alemao as saying that he would go by the wishes of the locals, when contacted the GFA president said, "The local interest would be taken care of and there will be no hiccups in the construction. "The issue will be discussed in the next meeting and we are sure we will be able to allay the locals' fears," he said.

Even as AIFF president, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, had recently exuded confidence on the construction of the academy, the source revealed "all is not hunky-dory".

"The locals believed Dasmunshi has overlooked ground realities and unless they are assured of its benefits, they will not change their minds and it will be rejected outright," the source said.