Paying a minimum of Rs 200 for an Indian Super League (ISL) match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium does not translate into a clean seat. Unfortunately, seats in the stadium, which were reconstructed during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, are full of filth and dirt. Besides the presence of such filth, sports fans are faced with unhygienic conditions in the stadium premises. Both the National Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium are also facing such poor conditions due to the apathy of the agencies concerned.
Former Indian Olympic Association President Vijay Kumar Malhotra says that due to the lack of proper maintenance, the Rs 1000 crore Nehru Stadium is turning out to be the most expensive junk yard in the world. There are sections, where the seats are either missing or broken.
“One should carry a piece of cloth or paper with them to clean the seat,” said Rajendra Singh Negi, a football fan and former state-level player. “I have been coming here for the last three years to watch football and I always carry a piece of paper with me to clean my seat. The seats are full of dirt and not in a condition to sit, while public utilities are in a unhygienic condition. But my passion for football brings me here.”
Similar is fate of the National Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium. The football fans of Delhi curse the concerned officials. Fans and some foreign spectators’, who came to watch the soccer league, have complained about the pitiable conditions of the stadium, where they had to clean the seats full of filth and dirt. “I am here to watch the football match not to clean the seats,” said Amit Sharma, former goalkeeper for a Delhi-based club. “How can you expect people to turn up at the stadium to watch the match, when authorities are unable to provide even basic facilities to the people? We have to clean the seats on our own to see the match. Next time I have to think twice before coming here again.”
“We saw images of the pitiable conditions of the stadium in the press and later received several complaints from fans and some foreign spectators about the pitiable conditions of the stadium, where they had to clean the seats," said an IOA official.
Only recently, the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium was upgraded in a venture worth Rs 262 crore. However, the lack of adequate maintenance has afflicted the National Stadium as well. Last year there were a lot of dark patches, scratches and cuts on the turf. However this year, the turf was in a good condition but seats were full of dirt and even the team dug-outs were in poor condition.
Earlier last year, the turf had developed some cracks and then director general of Sports Authority of India (SAI), Jiji Thomson, had called for more events at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, which would possibly help in the proper and regular maintenance of the turf at the stadium.
Meanwhile a leakage at the entry point is clearly visible. The seats and inner complex of the stadium has become a shelter for pigeons, which have created a mess in the stadium premises.
The most shocking is the condition of Ambedkar Stadium, which again is a football ground. While a football match was being played there, the stadium was full of dirt. There football ground was in an unhygienic condition, with liquor bottles and plastic pouch seen at the sitting areas of the stadium. Even a dog was inside the pavilion. The worst part was that even the construction of sitting areas in the stadium was not complete for the spectators. With such a situation, most fans would prefer to stay at home and watch matches on TV than be at the ground.