Minerva Punjab football club have refused to travel to Srinagar for its I-League match against hosts Real Kashmir and there is no hope for the Mondays match now though officially it is still on.
In the aftermath of Pulwama attack, Minerva Punjab FC had requested All India Football Federation (AIFF) to shift the venue out of Srinagar. AIFF had turned down their request and given match green signal to go ahead.
Defending champions, Minerva Punjab were scheduled to take on Real Kashmir at TRC Turf ground Srinagar on Monday. They were scheduled to arrive in Srinagar on Friday. However, the Chandigarh based club has not arrived in Srinagar and none of their officials turned up for the customary pre-match press conference on Sunday.
Though it is now clear that Minerva Punjab is not going to play match and are ready to forfeit the fixture, All India Football Federation (AIFF) and I-League officials are following the protocol.
AIFF match commissioner as per protocol called in meeting of team officials on Sunday evening in which Real Kashmir officials were present whole as Minerva Punjab officials were absent. Officials will continue to go ahead with the protocol and will keep everything ready for tomorrows match.
"It is normal procedure that we have to follow. As per AIFF match is still on and we have to follow the protocol. Normally teams are given two days for acclimatization but they can arrive even on match day as per their wish," said match official.
The official further said that the situation in Srinagar is not dangerous for the game and it is same as that for other matches that have been held.
"We have been in Srinagar from last two days and there is no threat of security. Even for the match, all the officials, visiting teams are provided sufficient security by the local Government. AIFF is satisfied with the security and that is why match was given green signal," official added.
Meanwhile in a pre-match press conference Real Kashmir coach David Robertson refused to comment on the situation and Minerva refusal to play and said that his team is well prepared to play tomorrows match.
"I am not aware about the current scenario involving visiting team. I am focused on my job which is to take care of my side and make them ready for the game. As of now we are ready for tomorrow's game and would like to take full points from it," he said.