Kolkata: After all the debate over the practice venue for the Argentina vs Venezuela international friendly on September 2, the organisers on Sunday confirmed Salt Lake Stadium as the venue, making a departure from FIFA norms which doesn't allow teams to train at the match venue.
Organisers Celebrity Management Group (CMG) said Mohun Bagan wanted their officials to watch the practice session of Lionel Messi & Co. So they had to rule out the option.
As per FIFA regulations, practice venue has to be different from the match pitch.
"But the regulation is for grass pitches as by practice the surface gets damaged. But we have an artificial turf at Saltlake so we have no such problem," CEO of CMG Dharamdutt Pandey said.
"We had almost finalised Mohun Bagan ground as the practice venue. But the visiting teams want it to be a closed-door affair to which Mohun Bagan objected. So we have finalised on the match venue," Bhaswar Goswami said.
"I had a word with Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra who said they would like to get the club officials to see the practice as it would be a lifetime opportunity. But the visiting teams strongly protested. They don't want any spectators during the practice," he said.
Goswami, however, said he did not have any knowledge if Mohun Bagan wanted to sell out the practice to the general spectators.
A recce team, led by Julian Camino, earlier were seemingly unhappy with the facilities at Mohun Bagan as the assistant coach of Argentina had said: "The practice venue, it seems, may be the one where they will play the match."
But the biggest blow came when the police asked the organisers to get another practice facility ready, leaving CMG with the only option of using Salt Lake Stadium.