Kolkata: A Navy fighter jet crash at the Dabolim airport on Wednesday forced an unprecedented one-hour delay in the Indian Super League football clash between ATK and FC Goa here on Wednesday.
FC Goa yet to arrive, match v ATK to be delayed
The home match of ATK was scheduled at 8pm but due to the unavoidable circumstances the kick off is delayed by a "minimum one hour".
"The match between ATK and FC Goa will be delayed for a minimum of one hour," Football Sports Development Limited, the competition organisers, said in a release.
An MiG-29 K fighter jet of the Navy overshot the runway and caught fire forcing the runway to be closed for operations for a brief period.
It was another blow for the Gaurs' arrival plan. They were to depart Goa on Tuesday but a technical snag in their aircraft had forced them to stay put there and take Wednesday's flight for Kolkata. Their flight was to depart from Dabolim at 10am on Wednesday.
As per their new plan, the Goans are slated to land around 8pm here and that means they will have to directly head towards the match venue.
"A chartered flight from New Delhi will land in Goa around 5.30pm and then will take off for Kolkata," an ISL official said. The travel time from Goa is around two hours and 30 minutes and there is high possibility that the match will be further delayed.
The match was originally slated for December 31 but the organisers had to postpone the match as police refused to make the security arrangements on the New Year's eve.
It remains to be seen how the Sergio Lobera-coached side tackle the situation as the Spaniard along with the team think tank had already criticised the move. "I don't find it just that the calendar changes with such a short notice period. We had a plan in place sporting-wise and logistically as well, with regard to the flights and stay.
Changes like this can hurt the final standings of the league table," the coach had said.
"I find it surprising that they take decisions like this unilaterally without prior consultation with the teams."
This trip to Kolkata is followed by a match in Guwahati to play NorthEast United FC on January 6. The Gaurs will then return to Goa to take on Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Margao on January 11, thereby completing a tiresome set of fixtures which will see FC Goa take to the field three times in nine days. FC Goa have slipped to fifth in the points table with 12 points from six matches after their loss to FC Pune City, their first home defeat of the season.