Two English teams have walked out of the Subroto Cup citing a supposed security threat. Just recently, during the World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad, the England team withdrew due to concerns but later apologised via email to the Badminton Association of India.
An email has been sent again, though from a different source. Reason: An under-17 team and an under-14 football team from England have withdrawn.
Arijit Ghosh, secretary-general of the Subroto Mukherjee Sports Education Society, said: “I received an email from them (Army Cadet Force) on October 6, the day our tournament started. Basically, it’s swine flu and security concerns that scared them away.”
FC Kuesnacht from Zurich, Switzerland, too has withdrawn, citing similar reasons.
The English teams were to play in the event for the first time while the Swiss team had played an exhibition match last year.
The withdrawals have taken some sheen off the tournament. “The Swiss team informed us a couple of days before the meet kicked off. It was disappointing as everyone was excited. They’ve pulled out despite knowing that the Indian Air Force conducts the tournament. After last year’s bomb blasts in Delhi, we’ve stepped up security,” said Ghosh. The withdrawals evoked anger from the spectators. “Are we in a position to host the Commonwealth Games? Why would a team come if it feels unsafe,” asked a fan.