Minerva Punjab FC move Delhi High Court for shifting I-League match from Srinagar
Minerva Punjab FC have moved the Delhi High Court for shifting their I-League match against Real Kashmir following the terror attacks in Pulwama. The writ petition will come up for hearing on Tuesday, February 19.
At least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed in a terror attack while several others are battling for their lives following what is being termed as the deadliest terrorist strike in three decades in Jammu and Kashmir.
Minerva Punjab FC were scheduled to play Real Kashmir on Monday but the I-League defending champions refused to turn up due to security concerns. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier refused to shift the match from Srinagar and CEO Sunanda Dhar said that the authorities have made all arrangements and the match commissioner has spoken to authorities concerned and got the green signal.
According to Article 57 of the AIFF Disciplinary Code, “If a team refuses to play a match or to continue playing one which it has begun, it will be sanctioned with a minimum fine of Rs.6,00,000/- and will, in principle, forfeit the match. In serious cases, the team will also be disqualified from the competition in progress.”
“With Hero I-League defending champions Minerva Punjab FC failing to turn up for their scheduled match against Real Kashmir FC on February 18, 2019 at TRC ground in Srinagar, the Match Commissioner’s report along with other relevant documents are being referred to the All India Football Federation’s League Committee for further action as per the I-League Regulations,” AIFF said in the official media release.
Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj made it clear that the team is not ready to play in Srinagar.
“Even today, there was an attack near Pulwama and apparently the mastermind of the attack was killed. If the match would have happened, the encounter would have been going on at that moment. What happened in Pulwama is a national tragedy and this is no time to play football there,” Bajaj told Hindustan Times.
A top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander, suspected to be the bomb maker and mastermind of Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy, was among two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces in the same district’s Pingilana village on Monday.
Bajaj said that Minerva Punjab have no issues with playing Real Kashmir but due to the security concerns, they will not be playing the match in Srinagar. “Our foreign players have received warnings from their embassies and in that situation, I cannot force them to travel. We’re willing them to play anywhere on a venue which is safe for us,” he added.