The Indian Super League (ISL) match between ATK and FC Goa, slated to take place at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday, has been delayed by at least an hour in the aftermath of a MiG-29K aircraft catching fire after skidding off the runway at Goa’s Dabolim International Airport.
“Hero Indian Super League’s home match of ATK will be delayed by an hour today, due to unavoidable circumstances.
“The League match number 37 was to kick-off at 8:00 pm (IST) but now has been pushed by an hour considering the expected late arrival of FC Goa to Kolkata,” Football Sports Development Limited, the organisers of the ISL, said in a statement.
“The match between ATK and FC Goa will be delayed for a minimum of one hour,” the statement added.
The Goa team was initially scheduled to arrive in the city on Tuesday night, but a technical fault in their aircraft forced them to stay put and take the next day’s flight.
The runway was closed for an hour after the incident, which meant that a chartered flight from New Delhi scheduled to fly the players from Goa to Kolkata on Wednesday morning also got delayed.
“The runway is operational again and as we speak the chartered flight has taken off from New Delhi some time ago. It should land in Goa by 5:30 in the evening and then it will take another two hours for the team to reach Kolkata.
“The match will not start before 9 p.m. at least. There are chances of a 10 p.m. kick-off also,” an ISL official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The last time such an incident happened was on December 4, 2015 when Mumbai City FC reached Kolkata on matchday due to Chennai floods. They went to win the inconsequential tie 3-2.
Stranded in Chennai where the submerged airport had shut operations, MCFC, who were to arrive on Wednesday had landed only on Friday after travelling by road to Tirupati Air Base.
Meanwhile, looking to get back to winning ways, the delay will certainly not please the Goa team management and players who will virtually have to take the field moments after landing in the city.
Till Wednesday afternoon, the FC Goa team management was in the dark about whether the match will be held or not.
On Tuesday, Goa assistant coach Derrick Pereira had complained of the rescheduled tie (the match was originally scheduled for December 31) being a cause of worry keeping in mind back-to-back matches against ATK and then NorthEast United on January 6.
“We were ready to play on the 31st. Then all of a sudden we had to postpone the game for tomorrow. That’s one thing we were a bit worried about. Not this match but next match. We are not going to focus on that match now. We got two extra days,” Pereira had told reporters on the eve of the match.
Goa are fifth in the points table with 12 points from six matches.