“We have written to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) that since the work at Cooperage is not yet complete and does not meet the standards to host I-League matches, we will not be able to host any matches,” WIFA CEO Henry Menezes said.
The renovation work of the South Mumbai venue was on track until the residents of the area objected to it, alleging that WIFA had violated heritage structure norms. Consequently, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) had issued a stop-work order. “The MHCC issue was the major one and we had to stop the construction work of the stands. We are left with no option than to call it a day,” said Menezes.
For the record, Cooperage is the home ground of three I-League clubs from the city — Air India, Mumbai FC and ONGC. Mumbai FC and Air India’s home matches will continue at the Balewadi sports complex in Pune while ONGC, who are based in Delhi, preferred to have their home matches in the Capital.