I-League clubs threaten to boycott Super Cup

In an e-mail sent to AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, Minerva Punjab FC has said that it has withdrawn its participation from the Super Cup because of the apathy extended to the I-League clubs by the Federation.

Minerva Punjab has said that it has withdrawn its participation from the Super Cup because of the apathy extended to the I-League clubs by the Federation.   -  I-League

Minerva Punjab FC has threatened to boycott the upcoming Super Cup. In an e-mail sent to All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das, the I-League outfit has said that it has withdrawn its participation from the Super Cup because of the apathy extended to the I-League clubs by the Federation.

The letter further adds that along with Minerva, six other I-League clubs - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Chennai City FC, NEROCA FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC – are also set to boycott the Super Cup.

Sources close to Sportstar have indicated that all seven clubs have sent a letter expressing their stance to Das at 5 pm on Tuesday evening. However, an AIFF source said that unlike the Indian Super League and I-League, clubs are not obliged to participate in the Super Cup.

Gokulam Kerala owner VC Praveen said the letter expresses the clubs' displeasure. “The AIFF is yet to inform us anything with regards to our future. We are not getting any travel subsidy or accommodation from the AIFF. More than all this, our major concern is going for a match will set us back by 25 lakh rupees. Why do we have to bear all this and go when they are treating us so badly?” he added.

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He also said that the clubs are hoping to receive a reply from the AIFF on Wednesday morning.

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Current I-League champion Chennai City FC's owner, Rohit Ramesh said more than a boycott, the clubs are eager to secure a meeting with the AIFF officials.

“We have not received any feedback from the Federation despite our repeated emails. I'm sure that if the federation meets all the club owners for the sake of clarity, the issue can be resolved,” he said.

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The drastic move comes after I-League clubs had written two emails to the AIFF, one in October and another in February, seeking a meeting with AIFF president Praful Patel. The clubs also listed a few demands and questioned the silent treatment extended to them, but the Federation has not offered any response thus far.

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The clubs' withdrawal will prove to be a logistical nightmare for the AIFF as the Super Cup qualifiers are set to begin on March 15 and Minerva Punjab is to face FC Pune City on the same day.

The Super Cup is a knockout tournament that pits the ISL clubs against the I-League sides after the end of both seasons, essentially replacing the Federation Cup. It was launched last year and Bengaluru FC is the reigning champion.

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