The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday said that it has not been informed by Minerva Punjab their intention to pull out of the upcoming Super Cup but warned that the newly-crowned I-League champions may have to face consequences if they decide to do so.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das insisted that the Punjab-based team has not mentioned anything about pulling out of the tournament but has only requested for more financial support.
But Das made it clear that if Minerva pull out of the Super Cup it will “bring the game and the AIFF into disrepute”.
“I don’t know what has been put out in the media but officially Minerva Punjab has sent a letter to the AIFF and in that he (owner Ranjit Bajaj) said his club wants to play in the Super Cup but they don’t have the budget. In the letter, he has said nothing about pulling out of the tournament. He has only asked the AIFF for increased financial support to be able to take part in the Super Cup,” Das told PTI.
“We have forwarded the letter to the chairman of the League Committee and he (League Committee chairman) will write back to Minerva tomorrow that it is not possible to accept their demand.
“Last year, the AIFF gave each I-League club a travel subsidy of Rs 45 lakh to play in I-League as well as Federation Cup. This year, the subsidy was increased to Rs 70 lakh. So obviously, there is no question of giving any subsidy to play in the Super Cup as it has already been included in this Rs 70 lakh,” he added.
The Super Cup, which will be held in Bhubaneswar, is a new version of the Federation Cup and all the I-League and Indian Super League clubs will take part in it.
All the top six finishers in the I-League and ISL directly qualify for main round (March 31 to April 20) while those sides which ended from 7th to 10th place (in both I-League and ISL) will play in a single leg qualifying round on March 15 and 16.
Asked what would be the consequences if Minerva still decides to pull out of the Super Cup, Das said, “As of now, they have not said they will pull out. But if they decide to pull out in a way it will constitute to bringing the game and the federation into disrepute.”
“In the AIFF Constitution and in the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary rules, there are many many obligations which need to be fulfilled by the member units and by the clubs registered with these units. All these will have to be examined. The judicial bodies of the AIFF, that is the Disciplinary Committee and the Ethics Committee will look into these Code of Conduct and Disciplinary rules and take a decision.”
Asked if pulling out of Super Cup may jeopardise Minerva’s AFC Champions League play-offs round chances, Das simply said, “May be”.
Minerva were set to face ISL debutants Jamshedpur FC in the knock-out Round of 16 of the Super Cup on April 2.