Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC, who pulled out of their I-League clash against Real Kashmir in Srinagar citing security concerns, will get a re-match against the league newcomers, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided.
The game was originally scheduled for February 18 but did not take place after Minerva refused to travel to Srinagar, insisting that their foreign players had been advised against it by their respective embassies in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.
Minerva said the AIFF failed to give written security assurances that were sought by the club after the terror attack which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel.
“The AIFF Emergency Committee on Monday decided that there will be a re-match of Real Kashmir and Minerva Punjab but the date and venue is yet to be decided,” I-League CEO Sunando Dhar told PTI.
“We have communicated this to Real Kashmir (since they are the host team) and we will take a decision (on the venue and date) after they give a reply. The plan is to have the match before the Super Cup preliminary round starts (on March 15).
“I don’t want to say anything on date and venue now,” he added.
The recommendation of the AIFF League Committee related to the decision of cancellation of the match scheduled between Real Kashmir FC and Minerva Punjab FC on February 18, 2019 in Srinagar was referred to the AIFF Emergency Committee.
Considering the nature of the matter, and in the interest of time it was decided that it would not be possible to convene an Emergency Committee meeting at short notice, and therefore, it would be appropriate that the decision be passed by way of circulation.
The Committee has deliberated on the recommendation of the League Committee, and the provisions of the Hero I-League Regulations 2018-19, and also taken note of the situation prevailing in Kashmir since February 14, 2019.
The Committee firmly believes that football is apolitical and must continue to be a humane expression of conciliation and solidarity with everybody affected by terrorism. The best way to do that is by playing, albeit in a safe and secure environment, allowing the players to express themselves best.
With the current situation in Kashmir not conducive to conduct a match, and keeping in mind the current extraordinary situation as well as the desire of teams to play football on the field, the match stands rescheduled to be held after March 6, 2019, at a time and location feasible for AIFF, and the participating teams.— Statement from the AIFF
Real Kashmir had turned up for the game last month, asserting that all the security arrangements were in place and they be awarded the three points after Minerva’s no-show.
Minerva went on to argue that their pullout could not be considered a forfeiture as it was security grounds. The club refused to forego the three points, taking the matter to the Delhi High Court.
The court asked Minerva to go back to the AIFF I-League Committee for a resolution. The decision to have a re-match was, however, taken by the AIFF’s Emergency Committee. The League Committee had referred the matter to emergency panel, which comprises the AIFF President, five vice-Presidents and the Secretary General.
Asked if there was still a chance of the match being held in Srinagar, Dhar said, “Let us wait for what Real Kashmir wants, in their reply.”
Both the clubs are already out of title contention.