Kerala Blasters are likely to play a few Indian Super League (ISL) matches next season at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode - a development that has made Gokulam Kerala FC unhappy.
The EMS Corporation Stadium is the current home ground of Gokulam but the Blasters have been looking to move out of their home base Kochi for a while now.
A Times of India report stated that Kozhikode Municipal Corporation mayor chaired a meeting on Wednesday, where it was decided that the Blasters will be allotted the stadium for next season.
According to the report, Blasters have been asked to list the modifications they require to make and a probable costing, over which another meeting will be held on June 10.
Kerala Blasters have been based out of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi since their inception in 2014 but recently, the club management has been looking to shift out.
One of the major reasons has been the falling attendance. While the side used to attendances around 60,000 in the first couple of seasons, it stated to reduce owing to the Blasters' lacklustre performances in the past couple of season.
On top of that, the renovations that were made to the stadium for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 reduced the capacity of the stadium to 42,000. For many games in the recent past, Blasters have seen attendances of less than 10,000.
Also, a major chunk of the Blasters' fan base belongs to the northern districts of Kerala and through this move, the club looks to cater to that fan base.
Moving away from Kochi will also give Blasters the chance to reduce their overall costing.
"After Wednesday's discussions between representatives of Kerala Blasters and Kozhikode Corporation, we can finally say that the ISL side is coming to Kozhikode. The number of matches which the Blasters will be playing here is not confirmed yet," Kozhikode District Football Association secretary P Haridas was quoted as saying by TOI.
Gokulam Kerala FC's president VC Praveen was clearly unhappy with the development and TOI quoted him as saying, "Gokulam have a strong objection in making Kozhikode as Blasters' home venue. They are welcome to play a couple of matches here, but we want this stadium to exist as Gokulam Kerala's home ground. For the past six years, Blasters didn't have any plans to come here. Now after we have invested so much into renovating the stadium and our team working hard to bring the crowd back into the stadium, Blasters want a share of our hard work which we cannot accept."