KOLKATA: A grim tragedy occurred on the football field on Saturday 16 August, 1980 which shook the entire nation. It claimed the lives of as many as sixteen football lovers in a stampede during a Kolkata Derby played between arch-rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
In the aftermath of the tragic event, thousands of football lovers and people from all walks of life assembled to offer the gift of their blood voluntarily.
The 40th occasion of the Football Lovers Day — observed by the Indian Football Association (West Bengal) — held as usual on Sunday 16 August, 2020 at Netaji Indore Stadium in Kolkata.
Sports Minister Arup Biswas, IFA Secretary Joydeep Mukherjee, Mohammedan Sporting Club Secretary Sk. Wasim Akram graced the occasion alongwith officials of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
Mr. Akram, who meet with the blood donors and encouraged them for their noble gesture, thanked IFA Secretary Joydeep Mukherjee and IFA for such humanitarian act.
Association of Voluntary Blood Donors, West Bengal has been entrusted by The Indian Football Association (W.B.) with the management of the said camp like all previous years. Govt. Blood Banks of West Bengal took part in collection of blood from the donors.
Despite restrictions imposed due to the pandemic 228 donated blood at Netaji Indore Stadium. Each donor was presented with a certificate of honor and ceremonial badge of the IFA.
It is heartening that football lovers in the Districts/ Sub-Divisions have also been inspired to observe the day in a similar manner in their respective places.
The first ever Football Lovers Day was observed in 1981 where a total number of 1203 people donated their blood, and since 2010 the Football Lovers Day has been observed by the District Football Associations as well.
Written By: Ajay Majumder (MSC Media)