The issue will be handed over to the AIFF League Committee for further action.
Following defending champions Minerva Punjab‘s absence for Monday’s I-League game between The Warriors and Real Kashmir, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has released an official statement citing that the issue is being forwarded to “All India Football Federation’s League Committee for further action as per the I-League Regulations.”
The conundrum began as Minerva refused to travel to Srinagar in the aftermath of the terror attack in the state’s Pulwama district on 14th February which took the lives of 44 CRPF soldiers. The Chandigarh-based club appealed to the AIFF to organize the match at a neutral venue or to reschedule it after at least a fortnight, which was turned down by the apex body.
Whole of Kashmir was waiting for today’s game against @minervapunjabfc. What a shame they did not turn up. Everything was in place.Earlier we even agreed to change the date from 17 to 18 Feb considering their @TheAFCCL travel issues. Video shows situation. Play to heal not hate. pic.twitter.com/K7UQBM1tHB
— Real Kashmir FC (@realkashmirfc) February 18, 2019
“With Hero I-League defending champions Minerva Punjab FC failing to turn up for their scheduled match against Real Kashmir FC on February 18, 2019 at TRC ground in Srinagar, the Match Commissioner’s report along with other relevant documents are being referred to the All India Football Federation’s League Committee for further action as per the I-League Regulations,” the statement from the AIFF said.
“Despite the tragic events which have unfolded in Kashmir over the past few days, football for the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been maintained on schedule, with assistance from the security provided by the authorities, with the qualifying matches of the Santosh Trophy being completed on February 16, approximately 36 kilometres from Jammu in Katra, which was, and is still under curfew,” it further read.
Apparently, hosts Real Kashmir had assured The Warriors of security measurements to be undertaken by local officials. However, the Chandigarh-based side did not budge from their stance. With the League Committee taking up the issue, it is yet to be seen how it all plays out for both clubs- which could directly or indirectly affect the I-League race at the end of the season.