Mumbai: Women footballers forced to use toilets as changing room

Apr 16, 2016, 17:54 IST | Sundari Iyer

Karnatak SA's dressing rooms need urgent repairs, but a legal battle with District Sports Office over a lease issue is forcing women footballers to use the ground’s toilet to change

The ongoing legal battle between the Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA) and the District Sports Office (DSO) has left women footballers suffering.

Women footballers
Women footballers participating in the MDFA League kit up outside the toilet of the Karnatak Sporting Association Ground which they are forced to use as a changing room. Pics/Suresh Karkera

The players participating in the Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) women's league (April 8 to 21) have been forced to change in the ladies toilet after the roof of the KSA's changing room collapsed last month and the DSO is reluctant to give permission to carry out the repair work. The state government had cancelled KSA's lease in December 2012 with a plan to build a sports complex here under the National Sports Policy. However, KSA managed to get a stay and claim to have even paid the rent for the premises till 2026.

Roof collapses
"The roof of three of our rooms — referees room, equipment room and ladies changing room, collapsed on March 23. The next day, we brought workers to carry out repair work, but the DSO officials stopped us from doing so, and asked us to first write a letter seeking permission for the same. We have done that, but there has been no response from their side till now," KSA's joint secretary Prakash Shetty told mid-day on Thursday.

Karnatak Sporting Association
Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA) joint secretary Prakash Shetty points to the venue's changing rooms that are in need of urgent repairs after the roof collapsed last month 

"Currently, the MDFA women's league is on at our ground and it's a pity to see these girls having to change in the toilet," added a helpless Shetty, claiming that KSA has sent not one but two letters (dated March 29 and April 13) to the DSO seeking permission to carry out repair work.

The delay in DSO's reply has left KSA wondering if they can continue to hold other tournaments.

"We have received a request to hold the inter-district football tournament, but we cannot give them the nod till we repair our changing rooms," said Shetty

A coach of one of the girls teams, who did not wish to be named, admitted that a changing room was the need of the hour.

"Yes, it will be very good if the changing rooms are repaired soon. But at least there is a toilet at this venue which is much better than other venues," he said.

DSO's deputy director of sports, AR Venkeshwar did not answer respond to calls or text messages.

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