The I-League fixture between football clubs Real Kashmir and Minerva Punjab to be played at the TRC Stadium in Srinagar on Monday did not happen per schedule with the latter refusing to travel.
The defending champions had earlier conveyed their decision of not travelling to Srinagar through an official club statement in the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.
The MPFC club statement stated that it had requested security assurances from the Indian Army, the Indian government and the Ministry of Home Affairs but had not received it yet.
Originally scheduled for the 17th, the match was shifted due to Minerva Punjab’s AFC Champions League commitments.
“If three points are given to Real Kashmir for the match despite failing to provide security assurances then we will appeal the decision and consider moving to court for relief,” stated the Minerva Punjab release.
Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj later confirmed that they had approached the Delhi High Court for relief.
The I-League officials had met the Jammu and Kashmir police, and the match commissioner had assured the organising committee that security arrangements were in place at the TRC Stadium. The I-League after considering all these factors, had given the go-ahead for the match.
Quess East Bengal had earlier contacted the I-League, also about security concerns in Srinagar and has requested a change in venue. Football Delhi’s president Shaji Prabhakaran had earlier offered to allow Real Kashmir to hold their remaining two matches in the capital.
Prior to the cancellation of the match, Real Kashmir were in third place with 32 points and Minerva Punjab are ninth with 14 points. The I-League website stated that the match has been cancelled, but a decision on whether or not to award the three points to Real Kashmir is yet to be taken.
In a statement released on the I-League website, AIFF also stated that Santosh Trophy matches were being held in the area.
Here’s the statement in full:
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.
The match commissioner along with the referees who have been posted in Srinagar since Friday (February 15, 2019), were at the venue for the match for a slated 2 pm kick-off, along with host club Real Kashmir FC as per the regulations.
Despite the tragic events which have unfolded in Kashmir over the past few days, football for the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been maintained on schedule, with assistance from the security provided by the authorities, with the qualifying matches of the Santosh Trophy being completed on February 16, approximately 36 km from Jammu in Katra, which was, and is still under curfew.