OPINION | How safe is it to go and watch local Shillong Premier League?


By Natasha Dkhar, TNT News | SHILLONG, Dec 1, 2017: 

As we all know Shillong is famous for Music, Fashion, Food and of course Football. Apart from all, Football is dominating the sports scene in Meghalaya. Be it from the local tournaments to National tournaments, people from this part of the world are crazy for this game.

From the old to the young, women to kids, the game has definitely made an impact in everyone's life. That is why Meghalaya has produced an immense number of skilled footballers in the recent years that have captivated the sights of many.

These players are representing the Indian National Team as well various Football clubs which are taking part in the I-League, ISL and also the various leagues in their respective states.

One of the famous local leagues in Shillong is the Shillong Premier League organised by the Shillong Sports Association of Meghalaya. This league is the grass root league from where all the renowned football players of the state started off their career from this basic league.

The SPL in the recent years have drawn so much attention whereby before, it was dominated only by men but as time pass by, it has attracted a lot of women supporters too.But how far is it safe for women to go and watch these games when a lot of things are happening around?

Hooliganism and harassment poses danger not only to women but also kids. Scary! Shillong Sports Association have not taken measures or initiatives to provide full proof security such as frisking of fans during entry so as to prevent them from carrying water or alcohol bottles etc.

The point which I am about to highlight is through an experience that I have encountered during a visit to a recent game. As a football lover and a woman, I find it very disturbing when during entry, people are not being frisked properly and are allowed to carry objects which are harmful to the well-being of everyone.

These objects include water, juice bottles and in some instances alcohol bottles. As we have witnessed in the past few games how these objects come in handy when a scuffle takes place. Bottles' being thrown at the players and to the crowd is not something new for frequent visitors.

And if that's not enough, wait till you hear the foul and filthy languages used by some people who does not get their way.  Not only are these rude, harsh, racist and sexist comments offensive but they are downright disgusting and painful for those around, especially women and children.

But does that mean we should condone these actions and just go on our way like nothing happened?  Isn't it high time for the authorities to start taking strong measures and actions to prevent these kinds of incidents in the future?

Football is about unity! And the football community throughout the world is highlighting the plight of racism that happens every day. Aren't we supposed to join hands with the rest of the world to combat the terror of racism?

We sometimes speak of racism like it only affects a few people, but we are forgetting the fact that everyone at some point has encountered a racist experience, be it in our own community or outside.

For example, a group of northeast fans who suffered harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of Chennaiyan FC supporters and also a number of Aizawl FC fans who suffered the same fate at the hands of the East Bengal supporters. So the question is — if we cannot curb down racism in our own home, how do we expect others to treat us any better?

Therefore it is suggested that the Shillong Sports Association should implement certain rules and regulations that will ensure the safety and security of the players and the public at large. And also to take strict action against those individuals who promote and instigate brawls and racism.


(The opinion expressed by the writer does not necessarily mean TNT-The Northeast Today subscribe to the same. The writer can be reached at natashadkhar11@gmail.com or natasha@thenortheasttoday.com)