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AIFF cancel Aizawl FC's home games against TRAU and NEROCA; Manipuri clubs cite security concerns

Published at :April 10, 2024 at 9:57 PM
Modified at :April 11, 2024 at 11:29 AM
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Rutvij Joshi

The Mizoram-based club have demanded walkover wins for the two said fixtures.

I-League side Aizawl FC in their social media post have announced that their games against bottom dwellers TRAU FC and NEROCA FC have been called off. The club however, did not mention the reason behind this. But, Khel Now can confirm that the motive behind the decision is due to the current state of affairs in Manipur.

Security concerns raised by Manipuri clubs reason behind calling off games

NEROCA and TRAU both had to play an away fixture in the Mizoram capital against Aizawl FC. However, both the Manipuri clubs feared security issues and were not satisfied with the  proposed level of security provided by Aizawl. It is worth noting that Mizoram has a big population of the Kuki-Zo community and both the clubs feared for the security of their players. 

A source close to the development who chose to remain anonymous stated that both the clubs (TRAU and NEROCA) were not willing to travel. “Both the Manipuri clubs were not willing to travel given the security concerns of Manipuri players in Mizoram. Both the clubs have played most of their home games away from Manipur due to security concerns and the clubs did not want to take a risk.”

AIFF proposed to either play games in neutral venue or share points

Khel Now has also learnt that there were multiple rounds of meetings between all three clubs and the AIFF where two options were considered. The first one was to schedule both the games at a neutral venue either in Shillong, Guwahati or Kolkata. The second option was to call off the games and split the points among the participating teams. 

“There were multiple rounds of meetings with the stakeholders and an offer was made to play at a neutral venue. Unfortunately, Aizawl were adamant to play their home games in the city and the league committee decided to call off the game and exercise the second option,” said the source. 

TRAU offered to play from Kolkata

The source further added that TRAU offered to play the fixtures in Kolkata and gave assurance that Aizawl will only need to pay stadium rent and no further expenses. 

“TRAU in fact informed Aizawl of their willingness to play in Kolkata and playing in Kolkata will not lead to enormous expenditure, but Aizawl did not agree,” the source mentioned. 

As things stand, TRAU and NEROCA have been relegated from the I-League by virtue of being the two bottom-placed teams.

Aizawl refute security concerns, demand walkover wins

Khel Now approached Aizawl FC for their perspective and a senior official of the club refuted the “security concerns” saying, “Both the clubs are making an excuse (on the pretext of security concerns) of not coming to Aizawl. The club is aware about the ethnic violence in Manipur, but zero incidents have been reported in Mizoram since the violence broke out.”

On the proposal of playing at a neutral venue, Aizawl defended their decision stating, “Why would we play in neutral venues? It does not make sense. Mizoram is a peaceful state. We’ve had no reports of the ethnic violence here. The League Committee informed their decision to us after both the proposals (to either play in neutral venue or share the points) were rejected by us. Both the clubs have refused to travel, so we should be given a walkover.”

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