Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj Sunday posted a video of Sunil Chhetri, in which the Indian football captain hoped that the club gets a ground to host its AFC Cup matches. On Thursday, Minerva Punjab had heaved a sigh of relief after the Odisha government granted them permission to use Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium for their AFC Cup home match on May 1.
Prior to that, Minerva had alleged that on the insistence of All India Football Federation, the Odisha government had withdrawn permission to use the stadium against Manang Marshyangdi Club of Nepal for the Group E match.
Wanted to thank our captain & the legend @chetrisunil11 for this message & for standing up for @minervapunjabfc as he said rightly that it’s about the country and not a club …. no wonder he is the perfect ambassador for @IndianFootball 🙏🏽🙏🏽🥰🥰🇮🇳🇮🇳 we are grateful 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/ajLfvL9TpQ
— Ranjit Bajaj (@THE_RanjitBajaj) 12 April 2019
The AIFF had said that it had nothing to do with the matter as it was an issue between Minerva and the Odisha government.
Minerva will, however, have to find the venue for their next two AFC Cup ‘home’ matches in June as the Odisha government had granted the permission to use Kalinga Stadium for the May 1 match only.
During an instagram live session with fans four days ago, Chhetri said in the video, “About Minerva Punjab, I just hope, like all these football fans in the country, that they get the ground and play the AFC Cup.
“Because in AFC, it’s not just about the club or the club rivalry, it’s about representing our country. And they deservingly got this chance and I hope that the party involved in giving them the ground understand it and they get the ground.
“It will be a shame if Minerva Punjab cannot participate in the AFC because of unavailability of ground. I hope and pray that they do, and they do well for us.”
Posting the video, Bajaj wrote on his twitter handle, “Wanted to thank our captain & the legend @chetrisunil11 for this message & for standing up for @minervapunjabfc as he said rightly that it’s about the country and not a club …. no wonder he is the perfect ambassador for @IndianFootball. we are grateful.”
On Saturday, the I-League Committee had “unanimously” decided to refer Minerva Punjab owner’s frequent “outbursts” on social media against All India Football Federation to the Ethics Committee.
An AIFF official had said that Bajaj’s name was not taken but the members took the decision that a proposal for action regarding his constant social media criticism directed to the federation will be sent to the Ethics Committee.