Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are two of the seven I-League clubs that have withdrawn from participation in the Super Cup 2019 due to issues facing the tournament and ‘unfair treatment’ by All India Football Federation.
The clubs released a joint statement on Wednesday on their resolve to withdraw their respective sides’ participation from the upcoming Super Cup 2019, almost one month after the AIFF failed to respond to their letter of concerns.
The clubs raised doubts on the clarity as well as the future of the tournament because of which the clubs are facing difficulties in getting sponsors.
Chennai City, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, NEROCA FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala and Minerva Punjab released a joint statement giving the following reasons for their withdrawal from the tournament:
# Our letter dated 18th February requesting the President of AIFF to address the various issues of the I-League has not been responded to.
# No Clarity of the I-League and its future.
# Increasing inability to find financial sponsors in the absence of clarity of the League and its future
# Lack of an agenda for the game at the grass root level.
The statement further said, “You will notice that the issues we stand for are not related to any single club but for the overall development of the game in India. Neither of these moves are targeted to any individual or entity but is aimed at ensuring that the agenda of the AIFF is focussed on the structure of Football and the development of the game.”
“Each of our clubs are keen to play and win at every level for our fans and players. We hope that the AIFF will take necessary steps to address our issues and therefore enable the conduct of the tournament. Whenever our concerns are addressed, we are ready to play and look forward to the growth of this beautiful game in our country,” it added.
The Super Cup is a knockout tournament hosted by the AIFF where I-League teams lock horns against the Indian Super League teams. It is India’s main club knockout tournament and Minerva was scheduled to play the qualifying round against FC Pune City on March 15 in Bhubaneswar. The final is slated for April 13.