The metro station adjacent to the Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata has been named as the ‘Indian Football Association (IFA) Salt Lake Stadium’, making it the first-ever in the history of any affiliated sports association in the country.
“Football in Bengal is perhaps the biggest sentiment which binds everyone together in the state. We see this as a big honour for all stakeholders involved with the game. This is our city, this is our sport,” Joydeep Mukherjee, Secretary IFA, said while thanking the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) for the gesture.
“I thank KMRC and the government of West Bengal for their support. This is tribute to the legends and all who have taken Indian football to higher echelons. The naming of the station will lead to tremendous excitement among football aficionados. It is a very proud day for football in the country,” he added as per an AIFF media release.
Formed in 1893, IFA administers football in West Bengal and is the oldest state football association, and also one of the oldest sports bodies in India.
Subrata Dutta, Senior Vice-President, All India Football Federation (AIFF) stated that “convergence of public transport and football” has been there for long in the state.
“Over the decades, fans mostly have used public transport in Kolkata to travel to the stadiums. The naming of the station to IFA Salt Lake Stadium will present a further sense of oneness to all the fans who have been the real stars of football. I see this as a unique initiative which will further help in connecting the fans at a faster pace to the rapidly changing football landscape in Bengal,” Dutta said.