Coronavirus: ISL club fan groups at work amidst lockdown uncertainty

Goal.com

With a lockdown in place and with just Bundesliga offering live football action (started from the recently concluded weekend) due ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, football fans have been mostly denied something that they turn to for a high. 

The situation of the Indian football fanbase is not any different. Without football matches to base their activities around, they have turned to social media to keep the members of their community fully engaged. 

Manjappada, the supporters of Indian Super League (ISL) club Kerala Blasters, has taken an extra step and continued their tradition of helping the society and contributing for a cause. After the supply of relief materials during the floods that hit Kerala two years ago, the Yellow Army fan group is now organising a Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) video game tournament - to enter the competition, the players were asked to show a donation receipt of a minimum of INR 100/- to either the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund or the PM Cares fund. 

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Additionally, they have kickstarted an online chat show with former Kerala Blasters players. Somu Joseph, one of the core committee members of the fan group, says that more activities are being discussed, in case the lockdown period extends. 

"We are organizing interactive games that can be played online. Some sub-groups conducted quiz competitions. As a responsible fan club, we are conducting a PES gaming tournament, the entry to which requires a donation to the Chief Minister's or Prime Minister's fund." 

"We also have an ongoing Instagram live show, hosted by prominent TV anchor Khuri Irani, named Off the Pitch with Khuri. We had Wes Brown, Baldvinsson and Aaron Hughes, who did his first-ever social media live, on the show." 

 

 

 

 

 

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A post shared by Manjappada (@kbfc_manjappada) on May 15, 2020 at 1:10am PDT

 

 

Bengaluru FC supporters West Block Blues have also used the lockdown period to chat with prominent people related to the club. They have kickstarted a chat show - Fresh Off The Block - featured JSW Sports CEO Mustafa Ghouse in the first episode and up next, is their former manager Ashley Westwood.  

Chennaiyin fan group Supermachans have been going LIVE with club officials to chat with them about how they're getting work done behind the scene. They've named their show - Behind The Dugout. 

 

 

Their other fan group, the B Stand Blues, are churning out podcasts to talk about what's been going on behind the scenes. 

 

Despite the lack of on-field action, the fan groups have tried to keep their members engaged. The general feeling, after the return of the Bundesliga which is accessible on the TV and digitally for Indian fans, is that football will definitely return soon. The Government of India, on Sunday, allowed stadiums to open without spectators and that is a positive start.

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