I-League: Minerva Punjab denies reports of 'forfeiting' Real Kashmir game

The club stated that it had not received any written assurances from Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI or Indian Army for the I-League match against Real Kashmir to go ahead.

The Real Kashmir-Minerva Punjab match had been postponed by a day to February 18.   -  Nissar Ahmed

Minerva Punjab has quashed reports that the club was willing to forfeit its I-League match against Real Kashmir on Monday citing security issues in the valley.

The reigning champion had its request to have the game either be deferred or shifted to a neutral venue, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Pulwama, turned down.

The club released a statement on Sunday, "Contrary to media reports, Minerva Punjab has not 'forfeited' the match against Real Kashmir tomorrow. Minerva Punjab is ready to play the match at any safe venue.

"Minerva Punjab had asked home team and AIFF to produce written assurance/permission from Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI or Indian Army for the match to go ahead, which have not been given to us till no. In fact, no written safety assurance has been given by any authority at all. Therefore, we cannot be expected to travel to Srinagar at our own risk. When foreign players are being advised not to travel to the region, how can the club force them to travel on verbal assurances?

"If three points are given to Real Kashmir for the match despite failing to provide security assurances then we will appeal the decision and consider moving to court for relief."

Late on Saturday, Real Kashmir tweeted from its official handle that the game would go ahead on Monday and that it expected the opposition to reach Kashmir on Sunday.

Minerva replied to the tweet stating that the club and the players had not agreed to travel since it had not received any written assurances from concerned authorities.

Real Kashmir is set to get all the three points. The league debutant will be on 35 points from 17 matches.

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