Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan

Salt Lake Stadium

Kolkata

Salt Lake Stadium or Yuva Bharati Krirangan is a multipurpose stadium in BidhannagarKolkataWest Bengal, with a current capacity of 68,000. It is the largest stadium in India by capacity.[1] Before its renovation in 2011, it was the second largest football stadium in the world, having a seating capacity of 120,000.[3] Prior to the construction and opening of Rungrado May Day Stadium in 1989, it was the largest football stadium in the world. Reportedly, a total of 85,000 bucket seats[4] will be installed in the stadium before the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India.[5] The stadium will possibly host the final match of the U-17 World Cup, alongside hosting other matches of the tournament.[4]

The record attendance of 131,000[2] was set in 1997 in a Kolkata Derby match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal when the giants clashed in a Federation Cup semi-final match. East Bengal emerged victorious by a margin of 4–1.

The stadium recently switched back to natural grass from artificial turf as part of the preparations for hosting the U-17 World Cup in 2017. The new turf was unveiled in a Kolkata Derby match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan during the 2015–16 Calcutta Premier Division match.

About

The stadium was established in 1984 because the club grounds in the Maidan area, each with capacity around 20,000 were proving too small for the huge crowd that occupied the grounds on matchdays. And while the Eden Gardens was there to handle some of the bigger games, like the Kolkata Derby, the pressure of handling both cricket and football was proving to be a bit too much for the stadium.[7]

The stadium is situated approximately 10 kilometres to the east of the Kolkata downtown. The roof is made of metal tubes and aluminum sheets and concrete. The stadium was inaugurated in January, 1984. There are two electronic score boards and control rooms. The lighting is uniformly distributed to facilitate night kick-offs. There are special arrangements for TV broadcasting.[8]

The gigantic stadium features three tiers of concrete galleries. There are countless ramps and stairs that go out of the stadium like spokes on a bicycle wheel. There are a total of six gates (gate no 1-5 and VIP gate).[7]

The stadium covers an area of 76.40 acres (309,200 m2). The stadium has an unique synthetic track for athletic meets. It has a main football arena measuring 105m x 70m, It also houses electronics scoreboards, elevators, VIP enclosures, peripheral floodlighting arrangement from the roof-top, air-conditioned VIP rest room, conference hall and much more. The stadium has its own water arrangements and standby diesel generation sets.[8]

Football matches

After its inauguration in January, 1984 with the Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup, the Salt Lake Stadium has hosted several important international tournaments and matches such as matches of the 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification in 1985, Super-Soccers in 1986, 1989, 1991 and 1994, 3rd South Asian Games in 1987, USSR Festival Cup in 1988, Charminar Challenger Trophy in 1992 and theJawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup in 1995.

The Salt Lake Stadium hosts the home games of the local clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal who play in the I-League. It also hosts the games of Mohammedan S.C., who currently play in the 2nd Division I-League. Many of the home games of the Indian Team are also played in the Salt Lake Stadium. Since 2014 a new tenant team Atlético de Kolkata (playing in the ISL) has made the stadium their home ground.

 

On June 5, 2011 FIFA scheduled a friendly match to be played at the Salt Lake on 2 September 2011. The match was played between Argentina and Venezuela. This was a historic occasion in the history of Indian football and also for the stadium as the match featured Argentine superstar Lionel Messi[9][10] The stadium has also hosted Oliver Kahn's official farewell match for Bayern Munich when they played a friendly match against Mohun BaganBayern Munichwon the match 3–0.[11] In December 2012, a friendly match was played between Brazil Masters and IFA All Stars. Brazil Masters won it 3-1. Beto scored twice and Bebeto scored one goal for Brazil Masters.[12]

On 12 October 2014, the stadium hosted the first match in the Indian Super League, preceded by an opening ceremony which featured superstars from the footballing world as well as from Bollywood. In the opening match, Atlético de Kolkata defeated Mumbai City FC 3–0.[13] The stadium hosted its last match of the inaugural edition of ISL on 14 December where Atlético de Kolkata played FC Goa in the first leg of the semi-finals. Salt Lake stadium was the only stadium among the eight venues of ISL where matches were allowed to be played on artificial turf.