I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC threaten to pull out of Super Cup | football | Hindustan Times
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I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC threaten to pull out of Super Cup

Minerva Punjab FC have written to AIFF about their unwillingness to participate in the Super Cup citing weak financial condition and scheduling of the tournament which will see teams playing in the searing heat of Bhubneswar

football Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:29 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Minerva Punjab FC were crowned the champions of the I-League this season.
Minerva Punjab FC were crowned the champions of the I-League this season.(HT photo)

Just days after winning their maiden I-League title, Minerva Punjab FC have almost pulled the plug on their participation in the inaugural Super Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. As per the draw, Minerva Punjab FC were to take on Jamshedpur FC on April 2 in the round of 16 fixture.

The reason being the club’s weak financial situation, and also the team not being happy with the scheduling.

Confirming the development, club director Henna Singh said that they have written to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) regarding the issue and the talks are still on.

“We have indeed written to AIFF about our inability to play Super Cup. The foremost reason being financial, while there are other factors also. We still haven’t pulled the plug and we are in talks with AIFF and are hopeful of a solution,” Henna said.

The Super Cup will see top six teams from ISL and I-League and rest playing qualifiers to make it to the main draw. The final of the event will be held on April 20.

Henna said that the club is already on a very tight budget and as this was a sudden expense which was not in the original scheme of things when the club started playing I-League.

“We already have a very small budget and now to commit to a knock-out tournament we are looking at expenses which can be for 3-4 days to maximum entire duration of the event. We have asked for some subsidy from AIFF,” Henna said.

Minerva, who were the surprise champions only in their second season in the I-League, managed to find a sponsor at the fag end of the league when it was more or less certain that they would win the title. Although Super Cup fixtures have been announced there has been no word on prize money.

“It has not been easy for us. Hope AIFF understands our stand. Besides, the organisers also have to realise that playing in the heat in Bhubaneswar is never going to be easy on the players. They want us to commit money for an event which at this point is not looking feasible to us. I hope we can work out some formula before the event starts,” Henna said, adding that playing against Jamshedpur FC, who finished fifth in the ISL, isn’t going to be easy in the searing heat.