Kolkata: Dempo Sports Club on Friday got a taste of the lack of professionalism on part of the organisers of the Federation Cup after they were denied permission to practice at the Yuba Bharti Krirangan ahead of their opening match against Pune FC.

The four-time national league champions had asked for a session this morning on the artificial turf of the YBK to get a "feel" of the surface, a tournament prerequisite, but were denied entry as the local authorities - the Indian Football Association (IFA) - told them that the stadium was booked for school games.

"We just had a light warm-up in an open ground with puddles and returned to the team hotel," Dempo's interim coach Mauricio Afonso said.

"I don't want to create any controversy. But ask the local organisers for what went wrong," a visibly upset Afonso told PTI, before adding, "We are not a school team... Even a school team should not have been treated like this if the authorities want to see Indian football grow."

After failing to get the YBK, Dempo were told by the local manager that the Mohun Bagan ground would be available for practice, only to be later informed that the team could practice at the Mohammaden Sporting ground.

As they reached the Mohammaden Sporting ground, the stadium in-charge did not allow them to train for want of any written permission.

After the harrowing experience around 8am this morning, Dempo players were driven to the Brigade Parade ground, an open field on the Maidan, more famouse for hosting political rallies.

But Afonso said there was no point complaining.

"It's useless talking. I only want to say that we could not have a feel of the artificial surface. More than one and half month ago it was decided that the tournament will be held in Kolkata. The IFA should have kept the practice venue free."

IFA secretary Utpal Ganguli, however, passed on the blame to Dempo.

"There is nothing new in it (complaints). We got the schedule only two days ago. We had told them to practice at the Makardah ground. You can't go on choosing. They themselves wanted to practice here after one match," Ganguli said.

Dempo's opponents Pune FC, however, practiced at the YBK on Thursday.

East Bengal and Mohammadan Sporting, the two other teams in group C, also underwent training on the artificial turf on Thursday and on Friday.

The practice shocker came a day after reigning champions East Bengal hit out at the organisers for unprofessionalism.

Dempo take on Pune FC in the tournament opener on Saturday at 2.30 pm, while in the second match East Bengal will face quaifiers Mohammadan Sporting.

(Agencies)