Srinagar, Sep 20, KNT: In a bizarre and humiliating incident, hundreds of footballers from far flung areas of Kashmir who had come for participation in selection trials on Sunday morning were denied entry into Synthetic Turf Stadium TRC ground Srinagar.
The players who had come to take part in the selection trials were seen waiting outside the main gates of TRC stadium on Sunday morning as the security at entry point denied them entry inside. The young budding footballers had come from far-flung areas like Kupwara, Bandipora, Tangmarg, Pulwama to try their like for a place in newly formed private football club Downtown Heroes FC.
“Never expected that main gates of public stadium would be shut for players and they would be made to wait on the road. I am from Baramulla and I reached at the venue at 7:30 AM. The security personals at the front gate said State Football Academy officials have given strict instruction not to allow anyone inside before 9:30 AM. He said trials are to begin at 10:00 AM,” said a player from Baramulla to news agency KNT.
Another player termed it a joke and humiliation of players as stadia are public property and not private property of some few.
“It is public property and we have right to go inside and sit on stands atleast. If not allowed on the turf atleast there shouldn’t be any objection to allow us in stands. It would have helped us to take rest and prepare for trials,” said a player from Kupwara. “When we entered inside we saw few young players training on one side and on other side some old retired persons were playing. It seemed they didn’t want anyone to see what is happening inside”.
Players were allowed inside only after intervention of Secretary J&K State Sports Council and they were able to sit on stands till the trials started.
“Earlier we were schedule to start trials at 7: AM but then State Football Academy officials said they have training at that time. Then trials were scheduled for 10: AM. However, intended players were asked to assemble early in order to sort out trial process and registration. However players were not allowed inside from main stadium initially and only after Secretary Sports Council intervened that they were allowed,” said Club official.
“We are thankful to Secretary Sports Council for swift action. This shouldn’t have happened in first place. Sports Council should also look into why this happened and who is behind this mess,” club official added.
Around 135 players from all over Kashmir turned up for the trials. President J&K Football Association and other guests were also present on the occasion. (KNT) (Representational Photograph)