Ahead of the Islanders’ landmark second appearance in the AFC Champions League, Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC have announced that the club will be playing their ‘home’ games at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune.

The present infrastructural set up at the Mumbai Football Arena makes the venue ineligible to host AFC Champions League games. Mumbai City FC will thus set up base in Pune for their three ‘home’ games in the Group Stage of the 2023-24 AFC Champions League.

Being the only top-division football club from the state of Maharashtra, the decision to adopt Pune as the club’s ‘home’ for the AFC Champions League was taken to make sure top level continental footballing action stayed within Maharashtra - one of the steps towards Mumbai City FC’s vision of helping football grow in the state.

With a rich history of hosting elite football, the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex serves as the nearest football-specific stadium to Mumbai and allows Mumbai City FC to maintain close proximity for fans to travel from Mumbai.

With Asia’s elite clubs participating in the continent’s premier tournament, boasting some of the biggest names in world football, Mumbai City FC aims to make top-level football more accessible to watch and drive a footballing culture across parts of Maharashtra.

Mumbai City FC will find out their opponents at the 2023-24 AFC Champions League Group Stage Draw scheduled at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday at 1:30 PM IST.

Kandarp Chandra – CEO, Mumbai City FC said: “While all of us at Mumbai City are excited about a huge season ahead of us, we are very disappointed at not being able to bring AFC Champions League football to Mumbai. Unfortunately, the current infrastructure in Andheri does not allow us to host Champions League games.”

“This provides us an opportunity to take the beautiful game to other parts of Maharashtra, which continues to be one of our key targets at Mumbai City. We believe that Mumbai City is a club that does not belong only to Mumbai but to all of Maharashtra and the AFC Champions League presents a wonderful chance for fans from Pune and the surrounding areas to watch their own football club in action against the very best clubs from Asia.”

“While we share the disappointment of our fans in Mumbai, we will spare no effort to ensure our supporters cherish a memorable matchday experience in Pune as we prepare to welcome fans to experience AFC Champions League football for the first time not just in Maharashtra but for the first time in India.”