No plan to felicitate Ganguly along with Maradona: Chakraborty

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> West Bengal sports minister Subhas Chakraborty ruled out a felicitation programme for retired Sourav Ganguly with football great Maradona on Monday.

Updated: November 14, 2008 15:59 IST
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West Bengal sports minister Subhas Chakraborty ruled out a felicitation programme for Sourav Ganguly, who retired from international cricket on Monday.

"Every day, somebody retires. Do you expect us to felicitate all of them," Chakraborty said while speaking at a media conference to announce the itinerary of Diego Maradona's visit to the city on December 6 and 7.

Asked whether Ganguly would be part of the stage at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan where the football great would be felicitated, Chakraborty ruled out any such thing happening.

"Sourav is a cricketer, Maradona is a footballer. Why should Sourav be present," the sports minister asked.

Maradona will be felicitated in a grand way at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan (YBK) at Salt Lake on December 6. Maradona, the 1986 FIFA World Cup winner, will be honoured in the best way, Chakraborty said.

"The whole world will be watching him with about 1.2 lakh spectators present at the YBK which is the ideal place to host the iconic footballer... With this we will showcase the facilities available at the Salt Lake stadium," he said.

The Sports Minister said there won't be any power cut on that particular day as the YBK is infamous for its blackouts in the middle matches.

"We (the state) are helping out in whatever possible way. We will ensure that there's no repeat of a black-out on that day," Chakraborty said.

After his arrival on December 5 evening, Maradona will lay the foundation stone at the Maheshtala-located Indian Football School (IFS) the next morning.

In the afternoon, the ace footballer will be at the Salt Lake for the function.

The next day, the newly-appointed Argentina coach will visit the Missionaries of Charity and share his skills with the budding footballers at a Youth Football Clinic and there is also going to be a fund-raising dinner and auction of Maradona memorabilia.

"A corpus has been created for the IFS and the amount collected from the auction will be used for this purpose," said Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of Celebrity Management Group, which in association with Eden City is bringing Maradona.

He added that though Maradona himself has signed and confirmed the itinerary but it may change in case he has some other last minute priorities.

"IFS will be a football academy modelled on the best academies of the world. To start with, we will sponsor about 100 football clinics across Eastern India for three years. The coaches of these clinics will be trained by a renowned international coach once in three months," said Goswami.

"By 2011, IFS residential academy will start operating with an internationally acclaimed coach at its helm. A total of 40 boys will be picked up from the clinics and will be offered full time residential coaching. The boys will be in the academy for about six-eight years.

There will be exposure tour to Europe, Africa and South America each year. We expect to produce world class footballers by 2020," added Goswami.

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