Indian Super League (ISL) champions Bengaluru FC have released a statement saying that they will continue to play their home games at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, as they have been doing since 2017. The club released a statement on Thursday saying, "We can confirm that Bengaluru FC will be playing its home games for the 2019-20 season out of the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Karnataka, the Sports Ministry, the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports, the Karnataka Athletic Association and all other stakeholders and associations for their support in making this happen. Our endeavour, as always, will be to keep the flag of the state flying high in the field of sport and beyond".
Bengaluru were forced to enlist the Balewadi stadium in Pune as their home venue to the battle that ensued between Karnataka-based athletes and the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES). The DYES, which is affiliated with the Government of Karnataka, earlier issued a letter of consent in favour to the ISL champions last week. The athletes argued that replacing the natural grass on the ground with artificial grass was proving detrimental to their training. The athletes also stated that since they cannot use the synthetic track and the football pitch, they had no avenues to go ahead with their training schedules. The news will come as a big boost to the defending champions, especially considering that Bengaluru enjoyed an unbeaten run at home last season, winning seven of their 10 matches at home.
However, it is still unclear whether Bengaluru will be able to play their first fixture at home in the ISL this season. Generally, a period of two to three weeks is required to prepare the turf and ensure that it is fit for play, so as to avoid any injuries to the players over the course of the season. Bengaluru FC are slated to face NorthEast United on October 21; a fixture that is a repeat of last season's semi-final. Fun fact, Bengaluru FC have lost just three games at home, ever since joining the ISL back in 2017.