The future of the current edition of the tournament remains in limbo after several I-League clubs refuse to participate in it.
The Super Cup fiasco has taken a different turn after AIFF President Praful Patel agreed to hold a meeting with the clubs in mid-April. Mohun Bagan who was a part of the rebellion with the other I-League clubs came out breaking the stance and agreed to play the knockout tournament, only if it starts afresh from the qualifiers.
However hours later Gokulam Kerala president VC Praveen broke his silence pointing out AIFF reluctance to reschedule the qualifiers of the Super Cup which were won by the Indian Super League clubs by the virtue of walkovers. However, with all the agreement in place and Patel to meet in April, the federation has denied rescheduling the qualifiers and Praveen thinks this is a strategy of AIFF to break the conglomerate of the clubs. he also questioned AIFF’s integrity as they rescheduled Minerva Punjab’s match against Real Kashmir in the I-League.
He said, “In the I-League, if AIFF can reschedule the match between Real Kashmir and Minerva even after Real Kashmir turned up and Minerva did not show then why can’t they do the same for the qualifiers of the Super Cup? Chennai City are already crowned champions but still, the match will happen. It is the same federation who are handling the things, then why have different rules for different competitions.”
“Our team (Gokulam Kerala), Minerva Punjab and Aizawl were supposed to play the qualifiers and we were ready to play. We were going to spend from our pockets for accommodation and travel. We spent to travel to Bhubaneswar. For football, we are ready to do anything but why have different rules,” Praveen added.
While the fiasco intensified, even more, when Real Kashmir who were a part of the I-League conglomerate broke out and informed their decision to play in the Super Cup to the federation.
“They initially told us that they will be part of our movement, they had also informed the AIFF. But later they come under some pressure, they were getting some subsidy from the state government. Probably AIFF imposed some pressure. They (AIFF) are just trying to break this group,” Praveen said.
The club president, when asked if the other I-League clubs are still standing firm with their decision, said, “Till date that is the understanding that all the other clubs will not participate which has been our stand from day one.”
In the meantime former player and head coach of East Bengal, Mr Subhash Bhowmick broke his silence regarding the Super Cup fiasco which has led to several issues among the club management and their current investor Quess Corp. While the management wants East Bengal to take part in the knockout tournament their investors who have been running the show recently are in support with the other I-League clubs standing against the AIFF.
Bhowmick was not very happy with the actions of Quess Corp as he came out gung ho speaking that the investor should only invest money and allow the management to run the club.
He said, “An investor is supposed to invest money, they are not supposed to run the club. Owners or investors across the world do not get involved in the day to day affairs of the club. They invest money and earn profit. East Bengal is a hundred years old club. Legendary officials have run this club in the past.”
The ASEAN cup winning coach was clear with his opinion as he feels that a club with such a huge legacy should not walk out of any tournament, whatever be the reason. He keeps his trust with the club management and the executive committee.
“If a club like East Bengal has already committed to play a competition then there is no question of backing out. East Bengal will play the Super Cup.”
“If someone does not understand what is his job then I cannot say anything. If someone thinks that just because they are giving money they can do anything, it does not work like that. Whatever decision the executive committee has taken will be final according to rules,” Bhowmick went on adding.