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Posted at: Mar 15, 2019, 8:15 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2019, 8:15 AM (IST)SUPER CUP

Miffed AIFF threatens sanctions against Minerva for no show

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 14

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has warned Minerva Punjab FC of sanctions after the club failed to attend the official pre-match press conference and the match coordination of the Super Cup meeting today.

Minerva gave both events a miss as part of their boycott of the tournament. On Tuesday seven I-League clubs — Chennai City FC, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Neroca FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Minerva — announced  their withdrawal from the tournament owing to differences with AIFF.

The clubs were angry that despite writing to AIFF, none from its top brass had taken time to address their concerns or even acknowledge the grievances. The clubs wanted an open discussion about the future of I-League as most of them were struggling to find sponsors because of no clear plans for the league.

AIFF said the club would face sanctions if the players failed to show up for the opening qualifier match against FC Pune City. “However, the club did attend their practice sessions on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. This is extremely disappointing, and a blatant disregard for the federation. In case of Minerva not taking the field tomorrow in the opening match of the qualifiers, the rules and regulations of the tournament will be invoked, and the matter forwarded to the relevant authority for further action and decision,” the statement added.

Minerva defiant

Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj brushed aside the threat and said his team will not play the match. “There is no question of us playing the match. Our team will return from Bhubaneswar tomorrow. All the seven teams just wanted a meeting with them (AIFF) and they didn’t even do that. How are we supposed to stay back?” Bajaj told The Tribune. “The rules clearly say that there is no penalty for withdrawal and the AIFF has the right of replacing any withdrawn team with the team of their choice.”

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