I-League: Minerva request AIFF to shift Srinagar game or ready to forfeit

On Thursday, at least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed in a militant attack.

PTI
New Delhi, Publish Date: Feb 16 2019 12:08AM | Updated Date: Feb 16 2019 12:08AM
I-League: Minerva request AIFF to shift Srinagar game or ready to forfeitRepresentational pic

Holders Minerva Punjab FC have requested the All India Football Federation to shift their upcoming I-League match from Srinagar or defer it in the wake of the Pulwama attack, saying the club is ready to forfeit if the game is not rescheduled.

On Thursday, at least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed in a militant attack.

Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC are scheduled to play Real Kashmir FC on February 18 at the TRC Turf Ground in the Jammu and Kashmir capital.

"We have written to the AIFF requesting them to shift the game from Srinagar. My team jersey has the line written 'We Salute Indian Army'. A game of football is nothing compared to what has happened last evening," Minerva Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj told PTI.

He added, "We are willing to forfeit the game if it is not moved out. I am sure the people will stand by us and really three points don't matter under the circumstances."

When contacted, I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said they will consider the feedback from the local authorities in Srinagar.

"We will see what the local authorities have to say. We will go ahead with the match if the local authorities give us a positive feedback. As of now, it is on, and shifting remains the last resort," Dhar said. 

Minerva Punjab FC also issued a statement and explained the security concerns that the team has. Real Kashmir are currently placed second on the points table behind Chennai City FC, while Minerva are already out of title contention owing to average results this season.

"We regret to inform you that due to current instability and volatility in the region, we request you to please defer the I-League fixture against Real Kashmir or have it held at a neutral venue," the club said in a statement.

The club further said, "Considering the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances we hereby request you to please defer the I-League fixture against Real Kashmir till such time our safety is guaranteed by the authorities or have it held at a neutral venue."

Third-placed East Bengal, who are scheduled to be in the valley on February 28, have also got in touch with the AIFF after the attack, expressing similar security concerns.

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