The Black Panthers have also reported what they claim to be an incident of match-fixing involving TRAU FC and Chhinga Veng.
Indian football is arriving at a threshold with the country likely to host a single top tier league from the next season onwards. However, talks about the move led to a rift between I-League clubs and the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
As proposed by the AIFF, the I-League would merge with the Indian Super League (ISL) and therefore come under the administration of the Football Sport Development Limited (FSDL). However, the clubs from the former league claimed the move as unfair, which unfortunately led to many heated discussions on social media and even the clubs refraining to participate in the Super Cup qualifiers.
Amidst the issue, I-League Second Division side Mohammedan Sporting Club, wrote to the AIFF requesting to allow them play in the top tier next season, taking into consideration its history in Indian football. The Kolkata-based club which stood second in the I-League in 2013 was relegated to the second division a couple of seasons later. Since then, the Black Panthers have been playing in the second tier and with major reforms taking place in the country’s football, they wish to play at the top level again.
“We request our prime body the AIFF, Delhi, to have sympathy for our fans, supporters and well wishers by allowing us to play directly in the Hero I-League 2019-20,” wrote the club.
Moreover, the club’s general secretary wrote another letter to the AIFF citing the unfair practices taking place in second division. The letter claimed that the club had appointed an independent ‘observer’ to take notice of the proceedings of a league game between Chhinga Veng FC and TRAU which took place on 22nd of March.
The observer, whom the club paid an amount of ₹20,000, reported that the match was totally fixed. Requesting the AIFF to take corrective measures, Mohammedan wrote, “We give our best efforts to play fair and we have given our best to reach the qualifying rounds of the I-League 2. But if such fixing occurs in football games, then a very serious question arises regarding the development of football.”
“AIFF being the pioneer body of Indian football must look at it seriously. We request them to go through the CD by their experts and consider the games of fair of play.”
“We are very much assured that you will look into the matter with grave concern and give your judgement for the benefit of football,” the letter concluded.