School association's decision to rent out the Azad Maidan ground to host private events has delayed Under-8 and Under-10 events
Mumbai: Coaches of various city schools are miffed with the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) for the school sports body's decision to rent out their Azad Maidan ground to hold private tournaments thereby causing a delay of two weeks in their own boys U-10 and U-8 tournaments.
Players in action during a MSSA under-8 match at Azad Maidan last month. Pic/Shadab Khan
Alister Fernandes, coach of St Catherine of Siena and Orphanage (Bandra), said, "MSSA have gone off schedule as far as the U-8 fixtures are concerned by almost two weeks. I remember they had the U-8 final on February 18 last year."
A coach of a prominent Bandra school, who did not wish to be named, said: "MSSA had scheduled our matches on Saturdays and then cancelled them at the last minute informing us that the ground had been rented out for private tournaments.
This is just ridiculous. If they continue in this fashion we wouldn't even play the upcoming matches as the parents are not ready to send the kids for games with exams looming in March and April," he lamented.
'MSSA prez least bothered'
Even the MSSA's football sub-committee members were annoyed with the sudden change of fixtures. One of the members said, "MSSA president Fr Jude Rodrigues and general secretary Sebastian Fernandes are least bothered about the MSSA events. They are more interested in earning as much as they can by giving the ground on rent to private entities.
"On Feb 4, the ground conducted the Riso Cancer Awareness Cup for girls and women for which the MSSA charged R8,000. They forget that the ground is conduct tournaments for school kids." In February, there were at least four private tournaments held on the MSSA's Azad Maidan ground, like the third YMCA invitational football tournament.
YMCA sports head Jonas Kumar admitted to paying the rent. He said: "We paid R10,000 per day to the MSSA so that we could have our nine-a-side football tournament at Azad Maidan." However, a defiant Fr Jude Rodrigues said, "It's not a mandate that we have MSSA's football matches on Saturdays.
We are giving the ground on rent to have sporting activities only and that has nothing to do with the delay of the boys' U-8 football tournament. We gave the ground to YMCA for their football tournament but that did not clash with any of the MSSA matches."
> The boys' U-8 final has been delayed by at least two weeks
> MSSA's venue hosted four private tourneys in February itself
> MSSA charged Rs 10,000 for hosting private tournaments