Their home matches at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in the green vicinity may be under scrutiny, but Atletico de Kolkata co-owner Sanjiv Goenka on Friday said they are not under any threat in the upcoming Indian Super League.
Promising to meet all the proposals without being “insensitive” to the environment, Goenak said: “We are meeting whatever proposals given to us. I frankly do not anticipate any problem. The matter is sub-judice, I’ve nothing to say. Let the bench decide.”
ATK’s home venue had to be shifted to the Rabindra Sarobar as their original venue Saltlake Stadium is undergoing renovation for next year’s U-17 World Cup.
But a group of city-based environmentalists have filed a PIL objecting to the 7pm schedule of matches saying that it would harm the natural flora and fauna in the vicinity.
A five-member committee will now inspect the venue to assess the potential of hazards listed on the lake as a further hearing is slated on September 27.
“From the preparedness perspective, Rabindra Sarobar stadium will be completely ready. We are very sensitive to the environment. We understand what’s expected from us, what’s important. We understand what needs to be done to make sure there’s no disturbance to the environment. We would not be found wanting,” Goenka said at the team’s first media interaction ahead of their third season of the tournament.
Goenka said the ISL organisers would be in a better position to comment on any change int the original schedule.
“We are working on the schedule given to us. It’s for the organisers to look into the timing of the matches and schedule. It is our job to go out there and play. ISL organisers can reply on this,” he added.
ATK this time have retained seven players in the foreigners’ roster including their marquee recruit Postiga but have made wholesale changes to the Indians line-up and have a new coach in Spanish World Cupper Jose Molina who has succeeded the ISL-winning Antonio Habas.
“Molina is obviously different to Habas and you have to adapt to formations and style of play. Different coaches have different philosophy. You have to adapt and that’s football,” Hume said on the sidelines of their theme song launch.
“Its exciting times for the players and the coach. We are going to do everything to entertain, but we have to get results. If we can get results then fine, and if we can do it with a bit of flair and a bit if Spanish football charm it will be a really good season.”
Team co-owner Sanjiv Goenka along with Postiga and Hume earlier launched their team title track “Aamer Bukey ATK” (ATK in my heart).
“This is the best team in last three years. Hope we will do better this time and Postiga will be available for all 14 games,” Goenka said.
The inaugural edition champions kick off their campaign against holders Chennaiyin FC at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on October 2.
Atletico de Kolkata Squad:
Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumdar, Shilton Paul, Dani Mallo (Spain).
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Robert Lalthlamuana, Kingshuk Debnath, Arnab Mondal, Tiri (Spain), Pablo Gallardo (Spain), Keegan Pereira.
Midfielders: Lalrindika Ralte, Bikash Jairu, Bikramjit Singh, Jewel Raja, Bidyananda Singh, Borja Fernandez (Spain), Otentse Nato (Botswana), Sameehg Doutie (South Africa), Stephen Pearson (Scotland), Javi Lara (Spain), Abhinash Ruidas.
Forwards: Iain Hume (Canada), Helder Postiga (Portugal), Juan Belencoso (Spain).