Indian football stars to protest against Doordarshan

KOLKATA: The Indian football fraternity is planning to protest against the state-owned Doordarshan television channel's alleged apathy towards the game and want live coverage of India's upcoming pre-World Cup matches.

Dozens of footballers, coaches, sports journalists and soccer lovers are expected to stage a protest outside the Doordarshan office, on Monday 23 February 2004, in support of their demand.


India's public broadcaster failed to telecast the Asian zone qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in Germany Wednesday when India beat Singapore by a solitary goal in Goa.

East Bengal football club's coach Subash Bhowmick and former footballer Surajit Sengupta are the prime movers of the planned demonstration.

"Whether this was due to administrative failure or disinterest in football, neither is desirable in the interest of the game," said Sengupta.

"So it becomes important that football lovers voice the concern against this attitude," added Bhowmick.

"We hope all lovers of football will turn up in front of the Doordarshan office to take part in the demonstration," Sengupta said.

Protestors will sit silently in front of Doordarshan office holding placards that will carry messages urging the electronic media to provide better coverage of football.

"Doordarshan has a dedicated sports channel. So, what's the problem in telecasting such important matches as India's pre-World Cup games?" asked Mohun Bagan coach Aloke Mukherjee.

The football fraternity is angry that television channels were eager to telecast live even the under-19 years' cricket matches but not India's soccer World Cup campaign.

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