The Stallions have been in something of a financial crisis with there being a noted delay in paying the players’ wages.
FC Pune City’s future in the Indian Super League hangs in the balance given their financial condition. indeed, there were reports suggesting that the club has released its Indian and foreign players due to monetary issues.
However, club CEO Gaurav Modwel denied the reports when he spoke to Hindustan Times. “None of the players have been released. We are only looking to give fringe and youth players a chance in the Super Cup. 15 players already have contracts for next season.”
Although, Modwell also revealed that the club are in financial difficulty and “facing a tough liquidity situation,” but he was pretty confident that the Stallions “will still be there in the ISL next year – 100 per cent.”
“The Wadhawan Group (approximately holding an 85-90% stake) are not looking to sell. Instead, the club is looking for investors to raise funds by issuing new shares. Serie A outfit Fiorentina and actor Arjun Kapoor are the other two minority stakeholders,” Modwell revealed.
Previously clubs like Pune FC, Bharat FC, DSK Shivajians, three club from the same region, who once featured in the I-League have shut shop. The main reason for them to be defunct was the lack of marketability in India’s top division at that time. Pune City also hail from the same state and if they succumb like the former clubs then it will be a first in ISL’s five-year history.
The Stallions have had a disappointing season, finishing in seventh position in the league table with only 22 points. The club had a horrific start, losing all of their first three matche,s which led to the dismissal of coach Miguel Angel Portugal. Assistant coach Pradyum Reddy managed the club affairs until former Hull City manager Phil Brown joined them in the international break.
With Brown’s arrival, there was a change in fortunes, as the Englishman picked up 11 points from six games and made the maximum use of the players he had in the shed. However, qualifying for the playoffs was way out of their reach.
Speaking about the reported delay in wages for the players Modwel said, “The maximum delay has been 20 days and players have been intimated about it, on the date their salary was due. The club paid salaries 10 days earlier the following month to compensate for the delays and all players have now been paid in full.”
The club CEO also made some other revelations looking at the financial condition of the club, “There is a possibility of the club being branded under a different name and the location could move from Pune to another city, depending on how things pan out. However, there are no considerations of merging with Mumbai City FC,” he asserted.
Modwel doesn’t believe that the club is in turmoil as he said, “FCPC has among the lowest wage bills in the ISL. ISL clubs have changed ownership four times in the past, so it is not something that causes turmoil.”
He also cleared the air regarding the negative impact of the ISL and football in the country as a whole, “People are continuing to invest in the game despite making heavy losses. They believe it will help build a platform for the future success.”