The I-League Committee Saturday desisted from taking action against clubs which had pulled out of Super Cup tournament and referred the matter to Disciplinary Committee. The committee also decided to award a point each to Real Kashmir and Minerva Punjab regarding the I-League match which was to be played in Srinagar on February 18 but did not happen in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
“The committee deliberated upon withdrawal of I-League clubs from Super Cup 2019 relying upon the relevant clauses/sections of I-League participation agreement and Super Cup regulations. The committee unanimously decided to refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee,” a release from the All India Football Federation said.
The I-League Committee meeting, which was held before the Super Cup summit clash on Saturday, was chaired by AIFF senior vice president Subrata Dutta.
Minerva Punjab, Gokulam FC and Aizawl FC pulled out of the qualifying round of the Super Cup while Churchill Brothers, Neroca FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal did not turn up in the Round of 16.
Only Mohun Bagan did not register their players for the tournaments while all the others did that.
The I-League clubs had pulled out of the tournament, demanding that their grievances which are likely to arise in the impending domestic restructuring be addressed by the AIFF.
Regarding the Real Kashmir vs Minerva I-League match, the Committee said both the clubs have informed that they have no problem in awarding a point each instead of a re-match.
“The I-League 2018-19 match between Real Kashmir FC and Minerva Punjab FC scheduled on February 18, 2019 was to be rescheduled later as per the decision taken by the Emergency Committee. Both the teams have communicated to AIFF that they agree to share one point apiece and the same was approved by the League Committee,” the AIFF said.
“Hence, Real Kashmir FC finish their campaign third on the points table with 37 points from 20 matches whereas Minerva Punjab FC will wrap up in the ninth position with 18 points having played the same number of matches.”
Real Kashmir were to host Minerva Punjab on February 18, four days after the Pulwama terror attack that left more than 40 CRPF soldiers dead. Minerva did not turn up for the match in Srinagar fearing for the safety of their players, even as Real Kashmir expressed disappointment over the visitors’ refusal to play.
After a referral from the I-League Committee, the Emergency Committee of the AIFF on March 5 ruled that a re-match will be held at a venue and date to be decided later.
The I-League Committee also gave a clean chit to Minerva Punjab regarding allegations of match-fixing in their game against Chennai City FC. The AIFF had launched an inquiry into the final-day I-League championship decider between Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC after an expression of suspicion by the match commissioner.
“The AIFF Integrity Officer conducted a thorough investigation on the Hero I-League match between Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC. Thee matter was investigated from all angles and relevant documents were collected and persons were examined,” the I-League Committee said.
“The AIFF Integrity Officer did not find anything against the integrity of the game and there is nothing to suspect about the true spirit of the game. The committee accepted his views.”
A decision was also taken that TW3 method of bone-age determination will be implemented for the sub-junior National Championship next season onward.
The Committee also decided that the eligibility criteria to participate in the upcoming sub-junior and junior league 2019-20 season will be a bone-age rating of up to 13.4 and 15.4 years respectively, received under the AIFF BADP Guidelines.
A large number of junior players from all the northeast clubs, including former I-League champions Aizawl FC, Shillong Lajong and Neroca FC, have failed the TW3 (Tanner-Whitehouse3) bone age determination test recently, prompting the AIFF to bar them from participating in the U-13 League with immediate effect.
Also, most of the players from former I-League winners Minerva Punjab FC’s U-13 team failed the test.