Odisha Sports Authority refuses to host Minerva Punjab's AFC Cup games at Kalinga Stadium
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
The Warriors had earlier approached TransStadia authories, but the deal fell through due to certain disagreements.
The controversy just doesn't seem to end!
Earlier media reports had stated that the Odisha Sports Authority had informed Minerva Punjab that the Kalinga Stadium won't be available for the club's AFC Cup home fixtures. The alleged reason was that the stadium is set to undergo renovation after the Super Cup.
According to club owner Ranjit Bajaj (in his recent tweets), the decision has been taken due to pressure from AIFF and FSDL; with whom the Warriors (and some I-League clubs) are in a silent war with, regarding the future of Indian football.
After being champions playing in the @AFCCup was our right @minervapunjabfc but came to know who that it’s AIFF &(FSDL)who has got our permission cancelled -ODISHA sports dept is saying talk to them-I am shattered that my own parent body is sabotaging our afc stadium ????????????— Ranjit Bajaj (@THE_RanjitBajaj) April 5, 2019
Minerva were reportedly getting to use the Bhubaneshwar-based stadium free of cost. Earlier the club had approached TransStadia authorities. According to a Khel Now source, "the deal with TransStadia fell through due to disagreements between Minerva and the stadium authorities."
According to Khel Now sources, "Odisha Sports Authority have communicated to Minerva unofficially that the stadium won't be given to them."
A source added, "It was already known that Kalinga would be renovated, but it was decided to be done after the AFC Cup fixtures. But now it seems that Minerva's boycotting of the Super Cup has led to AIFF and FSDL putting pressure on Odisha Sports Authority."
In a tweet, Ranjit Bajaj stated that the excuse is in pretext with the Women's U-20 FIFA World Cup which India will be hosting in 2020. His tweet states that the authorities have said that the stadium needs to be renovated for that.
60 crores defamation suit / then cancelling our @AFCCup permission using the girls WC 2020 u 17 as a excuse as Kalinga might be used as a possible venue so renovation required - smells of clear utter bias and trying to suppress me for exposing FSDL RELIANCE AIFF UNHOLY NEXUS????????????— Ranjit Bajaj (@THE_RanjitBajaj) April 5, 2019
In another tweet, Ranjit Bajaj also stated that Minerva Punjab will shut down.
With a very heavy heart ???? today I have decided that @minervapunjabfc will have to do what so many others have done/CHAMPIONS of @ILeagueOfficial for 2018-19 for SENIORS/Under 13/ under 15 /under 18 - SIX TITLES(4 years) 60 plus boys to various Indian teams is going to shut????— Ranjit Bajaj (@THE_RanjitBajaj) April 5, 2019
In the AFC Cup, Minerva Punjab are next up against Dhaka Abahani, which will be played in Bangladesh. Their first home fixture is up against Nepal's Manang Marshyangdi. Going ahead, the question is about where will the club host their home fixtures, if the stadium dilemma is not sorted out soon.
Published: Fri Apr 05, 2019 03:28 PM IST