2nd Division I-League: Lone Star FC home matches shifted out of Kashmir due to security issues

After waiting for long to get security clearance to play its second division I-League home matches in Srinagar, Lone Star Kashmir FC and All India Football Federation (AIFF) have agreed to shift the matches to Jammu.

Lone Star Kashmir FC that plays in second division I-League was scheduled to play its first home match in Srinagar on February 24. However, it couldn’t happen due to bad law and order situation and the following four home matches were also cancelled. After that Lone Star went for its away journey and has so far played two matches in the league in which it has been able to draw one and suffered one defeat. They will play one more away match on March 24 before starting “home outing.”

Lone Star was first team from J&K to play in second division I-League. It will now play its “home matches” at Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (VDSB) sports complex Katra, Jammu, instead of TRC Ground Srinagar. They will play first home game against Bengaluru FC Reserves on March 27 and then next against Hindustan FC on March 30. Lone Star will play its last two home games on April 3 and 6 against FC Goa Reserves and Ara FC respectively.

Former international footballer and the mentor of Lone Star Kashmir FC, Ishfaq Ahmad, said that they were forced to shift matches to Jammu due to non security clearance.

“We tried our best to convince security officials and even waited for long to hold our matches in Srinagar. But then police didn’t give security clearance for the matches and we have been forced to shift matches to Jammu,” said Ishfaq Ahmad.

“We are unable to understand when everything was alright in Srinagar and they had no problem in conducing I-League matches then why we were denied the clearance. We understand that for some time after Pulwama attack the situation was not conducive but now everything has come back to normal,” he further said.

Ishfaq said that if they wouldn’t have been able to find alternative venue in State they may have been forced forfeit their all home matches.

“Currently Lone Star Kashmir FC is not in a position to afford such an away travel itinerary. We are struggling financially. We are lucky to find venue at Katra where we will now play all our home matches. Though it is not like playing in Srinagar in front of home fans but still it is better than nothing,” he said.