Minerva Punjab pulls out of Super Cup, others may follow suit

Minerva Punjab FC has pulled out of the Hero Super Cup 2019 and six other I-League clubs are expected to follow suit.

Minerva Punjab was scheduled to play FC Pune City in the first qualifier of the Hero Super Cup 2019 on Friday.   -  Twitter@minervapunjabfc

I-League outfit Minerva Punjab FC, which was slated to take on FC Pune City in the first qualifier of the Super Cup, has pulled out of the competition a day prior to the game.

Ranjit Bajaj, Minerva Punjab owner, confirmed to Sportstar his team’s decision and said: “We didn’t attend the Match Coordination meeting and the official pre-match press conference. We will be returning home tomorrow.”

The All India Football Federation (AIFF), which has come under attack from most of the I-League clubs for its apparent lackadaisical approach to the League, expressed its disappointment and said in a statement: “This is extremely disappointing, and a blatant disregard for the Federation. In case of Minerva Punjab FC not taking the field tomorrow (March 15, 2019) in the opening match of the Qualifiers of the Hero Super Cup against FC Pune City slated to kick-off at 5pm at the Kalinga Stadium, the rules and regulations of the tournament will be invoked, and the matter forwarded to the relevant authority for further action and decision.”

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Bajaj, too, however, quoted the rule book and said: “The AIFF cannot sanction us. We withdrew before the commencement of the competition.”

Article 10.2 of the AIFF’s Regulations for the Super Cup 2019 states that “Clubs that withdraw prior to the start of the competition maybe replaced by another team as decided by the AIFF”, while Article 10.4 says that a club can be penalised – pay compensation, disqualified from next edition of the competition – if it withdraws from a competition after its commencement.


10.4 The Participating Club that withdraws from the Competition after its commencement shall:

  • 10.4.1 - Have all its matches cancelled and considered null and void. All points and goals in those matches shall not be taken into consideration and shall be expunged from official records.
  • 10.4.2 - The opponent team shall be declared winners with a three - zero (3-0) margin
  • 10.4.3 - Be required to pay compensation for any and all damages or losses suffered by, where applicable, the other Participating Club/s, the AIFF, the AIFF commercial right partners, licensees, broadcasters and the concerned Member Association.
  • 10.4.4 - be disqualified from taking part in next edition of the Competition from which it withdrew. The AIFF Executive Committee may extend the suspension depending on the gravity of the situation and/or impose further damages as deemed appropriate by it.
  • 10.4.5 - be referred to the AIFF Disciplinary Committee for determination of the compensation amount and additional sanctions. Depending upon the gravity of the offence, the case may be referred to the AIFF Executive Committee for final decision.
  • 10.4.6 - The above sanctions are not applicable in cases of Force Majeure recognised by the AIFF in consultation with the concerned Match Officials.
  • 10.4.7 - The AIFF shall take whatever action it deems necessary in cases of Force Majeure.

The matter now is expected to be referred by the Federation’s disciplinary committee.

Seven I-League clubs, including Minerva Punjab, had earlier threatened to boycott the Super Cup that pits I-League clubs against their ISL counterparts after the AIFF failed to respond to their mails seeking an appointment to meet president, Praful Patel.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had replied on Wednesday that the Federation “will communicate with you (later) regarding the meeting since the President is traveling.”

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Most I-League clubs, however, want the Federation to confirm a meeting date before they agree to play the Super Cup.

Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala FC, who are also slated to play the qualifiers on Saturday, are in Bhubaneswar but are unlikely to take the field unless the AIFF relents.

In the second qualifier of Friday, AIFF’s development team Indian Arrows will take on Kerala Blasters.

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