CHENNAI: The Indian Super League returned to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here last Friday, but was the ‘Marina Arena’ ready to host Chennaiyin FC and its fans?
The answer is a simple ‘no’. Be it with unusable washrooms in stands and unrepaired or missing seats, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), which is in charge of the venue, made life extremely difficult for the spectators who came out in numbers to catch live action of the ISL 2022-23 clash between Chennaiyin and Bengaluru FC.
For the uninitiated, CFC takes the ‘Marina Arena’ pitch for rent for the duration of the ISL while the southern club takes the stadium for rent only on matchdays and matchdays minus one (days prior to the gamedays).
Women who had booked their tickets in E Stand Level 1 were in for a nightmare as the toilet did not have a door. “The washrooms were pathetic. The women’s restroom in the stand is close to the stairs. Some of the cubicles too did not have doors. How is someone supposed to use it?” questioned Jenisha, a member of CFC supporter group Supermachans.
“Only one or two cubicles had doors. Even in that, one door could not be locked. Everything was in bad condition. I have no idea as to how they (those that matter) have kept things this way,” added Jenisha, who raised the issue on social media on Sunday.
It is to be noted that the E Stand Level 1 is usually sold out for all matches since members of the Supermachans get together there.
When DT Next contacted Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development Siva V Meyyanathan on Sunday, he said: “I will pay a visit to the stadium on Monday. It will be ready by Friday (when Chennaiyin plays its next ISL home game against FC Goa).”
Leaving it too late
Coming to seating, many chairs – expected to be in thousands – were missing in different stands, with some being fixed just in time for the CFC-BFC match. There is no update on when the rest would be repaired or replaced.
Talking to this newspaper a few days ago, Meyyanathan had said: “The work is going on.” But, the question is “for how long?” Despite charging exorbitant amount as rent, the SDAT has been negligent time and again.