The batting legend said that hosting the cricket match could damage the FIFA approved world class football turf at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi.
Amid mounting opposition over the Kerala Cricket Association's plans to host the India-West Indies ODI in November at Kochi, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday said hosting the match could damage the FIFA approved world class football turf.
He batted for Thiruvananthapuram to host the ODI on November 1 instead of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, which was last used for the Under-17 Football World Cup.
"Worried about the potential damage to the FIFA approved World class Football turf in Kochi. Urge the KCA to take the right decision where cricket (Thiruvananthapuram) and Football (Kochi) can happily co-exist,” he tweeted.
Tendulkar said he has already taken up the matter with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
"Urged Shri Vinod Rai (chief of Committee of Administrators) who has promised to look into the matter. Hoping that neither the cricket nor the football fans are disappointed”, he said.
Kerala Football Association and football lovers in the state have expressed concern over the move by the KCA to host the cricket match at the Kochi stadium, which is also home to the Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC, co-owned by Tendulkar.
They raised apprehension that hosting a cricket match on November 1 in the stadium would damage the football turf and affect the ISL season that normally begins in October every year and lasts for around four months.
Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor also slammed the move, stating that the Kerala Cricket Association's move is 'suspect'.
Tharoor, Thiruvananthapuram MP, said he has been assured by COA chief Rai that BCCI would look into the matter.
"He has promised to review the matter. KCA's motive is highly suspect", Tharoor had tweeted.
In another tweet, the local MP thanked everyone for the outpouring of support for his firm opposition to KCA's shifting the ODI to Kochi.
"Turf laid for top-class football would have to be dug up, while a cricket-ready SportsHub stadium in Trivandrum, the best in India, lies idle. Who gains from this suspect decision?', he asked in the tweet.
Kerala Blasters team member Iain Hume expressed his dismay over the move saying it is upsetting.
"I understand there is lot of cricket in India. But I also understand that there is lot of football in Kerala".
Another Blasters key player C K Vineeth said the Jawaharlal Stadium in Kochi is one of six in India that are approved by FIFA, a certification that will take immense effort to obtain again.
When India has been known for being a 'cricket crazy' nation, is it really necessary to dig up a football pitch to play a cricket match? #SaveKochiTurf, he tweeted.
Veteran footballers I M Vijayan and C V Pappachan have also come out against the move.