Indian Football

AIFF hands over Minerva Punjab’s match-fixing complaints to CBI

The newly-crowned champions Minerva Punjab on two occasions during this year had alleged match-fixing approaches

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the complaint made by Minerva Punjab FC that their players were approached for match-fixing during the just-concluded I-League.

Approached twice

The newly-crowned champions Minerva Punjab on two occasions – one in January and the other earlier this month – had alleged match-fixing approaches.

“Regarding the first approach relating to the alleged phone calls made to the Minerva players and the support staff, we have handed the information and the details to the CBI,” said AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das at the draws ceremony for the Super Cup football tournament.

“The second one which we made it public just a day before the I-League title deciding matches a few days back, out integrity officer is looking into the matter for further course of action,” he added.

In the first case which came to light in January, Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj said that an Indian and a foreign player of his team were offered bribes of up to Rs30 lakh each in an alleged match-fixing attempt. He tweeted that some match officials were also approached. Bajaj had said that his club reported the issue to AIFF and also apprised of the Asian Football Confederation. Later, Bajaj again wrote on social media that five more players from his club were asked to fix matches in the I-League, taking the numbers to seven.

AIFF gets involved

The AIFF issued a release on March 7 about Minerva writing another letter to it informing about an approach to their players and officials from other participating teams in the I-League.

Asked if the AIFF’s restructuring plan to have three tiers of the domestic league system will be implemented next year, Das said, “We are waiting for inputs from the AFC and based on that we will take a decision. We will have an Executive Committee meeting,” he said. “We are very clear that the model will have to be sustainable and make sense. We don’t want to rush in and later find that it not workable. In the next two or three months, we should be able to come up with a plan.”

Das said that the Supreme Court-appointed administrator SY Qureshi is expected to submit his report on the formulation of the AIFF Constitution after the election of Praful Patel as president in late 2016 was set aside by the Delhi High Court for not following the National Sports Code.

“He (Qureshi) is comparing the AIFF Constitution with the Sports Code and he will submit a report to the Supreme Court.”

Focus on young players

Das also said that the AIFF Disciplinary Committee will take a decision soon on the complaints made by some Minerva players on alleged breach of contract by the club management.

Das also said that some players will be added to the current Indian Arrows side, playing in the I-League, next season. “Our Under-16 team will be playing in the AFC U-16 Championships in September. Some of the U-16 players from this team will be added to Indian Arrows while some U-19 players from the current (Indian Arrows) side which played in the I-League will be released,” said Das.

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