The owners of the five local clubs came together yet again to raise their voice against the local governing body.
A month-long protest by several clubs against the Pune District Football Association (PDFA) took a fresh turn recently, as the said clubs made certain allegations against the local governing body in a joint press conference that took place on Tuesday.
A report in the Hindustan Times suggests, a heated discussion took place at the Patrakar Bhavan here in Pune, during which the clubs directed criticism against the association regarding its mismanagement and wrongdoings. The conference took place in the presence of Shanup Nair (CEO, CMS Falcons), Sohan Singh Sona (secretary, Strikers FC), Vijay Arland (secretary, Fatima FC), Milind Kulkarni (secretary, Phoenix FC) and Fabian Brhamane (team manager, Phoenix FC)- who had earlier also raised their voice against the association.
The audit report in question (Courtesy: Hindustan Times)
Tuesday’s conference was the aftermath of a series of events that happened during the course of December last year. The clubs had decided to file a civil suit against the PDFA seeking to prohibit it from holding the annual general body meeting (AGM) but received a stay order, which was delivered to them on 8th December. However, the copy of the order was apparently declined at the PDFA office.
The allegations made by the clubs include the assertion that the association spent over ₹6 lakh on food, but neglected the health of the players by not providing adequate medical facilities
“Even if 500 people attended an awards night, which is not the case because only one representative is allowed per team and there are a total of 117 teams. If I have to divide ₹6,28,660 by 500 it comes to ₹1,257.32. The question is, how are they able to spend so much on an awards night, rather than the actual game?” he questioned.
Another accusation by the clubs was that the PDFA allegedly awarded promotion to five teams instead of two. Moreover, this move was carried out without the knowledge of the clubs, who naturally asked for justification.
“What they told us was that the top two teams finished the group stage with 18 points and the other three teams, despite not qualifying for the knockout rounds also had the same number of points and thus qualified. This wasn’t told to us at the AGM earlier, it was clearly stated that only two teams were going to get promoted,” claimed Nair.
Agitated by the PDFA’s apparent wrongdoings, about 100 club owners from Pune arrived at an Indian Super League (ISL) game between FC Pune City and Kerala Blasters in November last year, carrying a ‘Save Pune Football’ banner.
However, to add to their grief, the franchise called up the cops to take control of the situation, which also led to the questioning of a few protesters at a nearby police station. “It was a completely silent protest, without violence at all. What we wanted to do was to get our message across, so that people do something to save the game in the city,” added Nair.