Defence authorities asked to step in September 22, 2007

Don't lease Eden Gardens to CAB, says sports minister

Subas Chakraborty, the sports minister of West Bengal, has requested the country's defence ministry not to renew the lease of Eden Gardens to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

In a letter to AK Anthony, India's defence minister, Chakraborty said around 65 days of cricket were played at the Eden Gardens in a year and contended that the facilities could be optimally utilised if other sports were also held at different times of a year.

Prasun Mukherjee, president of the CAB, said the letter was the personal opinion of Chakraborty and not that of the West Bengal government. Mukherjee said Eden Gardens' chances of hosting the 2011 World Cup will be in jeopardy should the ground host sporting activity other than cricket. "As per ICC rules," he said, "World Cup matches can be held only on grounds used exclusively for cricket and we may not get big matches later also."

The plot of land housing Eden Gardens is owned by the defence ministry and CAB held the lease which expired earlier this year. CAB has applied for a renewal of the lease for 15 years and the matter is pending with the defence authorities.