The Kolkata giants were among the nine I-League clubs who decided to pull out of the tournament a few days ago.
In a dramatic turn of events, AIFF President Praful Patel has assured the I-League clubs who had previously decided to pull out of Super Cup of a meeting next month. The said meeting will take place between 10th-15th April at a location yet to be announced. Among the nine revolting I-League clubs, Mohun Bagan have now decided to play in the Super Cup, if the tournament starts again from the qualifiers.
The positive response from Bagan came after the AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das reached out to them, assuring of a meeting with Patel in mid-April. However, the Mariners have demanded to start the tournament afresh, from the qualifiers.
Mohun Bagan released a statement regarding the matter thanking Patel for his letter and tentative meeting dates. The club also showed their urge to play in the Super Cup, provided it starts from the qualification round.
The club’s statement read, “We express our sincere gratitude to our President who has offered to meet us in spite of his hectic schedule. We duly take note of our President’s advice and will ensure that the sport of football will not suffer because of the differences.
“We reciprocate the goodwill gesture by giving our consent/willingness to play the ‘SUPER CUP’ with the request to start the competition afresh and reschedule the qualifying rounds.”
The nine clubs had recently sent their proposed roadmap for restructuring football in India, where they suggest a unified league of 20 teams, including both I-League and ISL clubs running for nine months from September to May.
It is certain that the I-League clubs are against the hefty franchise fee currently imposed on the ISL clubs by FSDL. The clubs have suggested this in their roadmap and have also kept in mind the financial side of the league, insisting on paying a “participation fee” of ₹2 crores instead of the ₹13-18 crores that the ISL clubs pay right now. It will be interesting to see how Patel reacts to the suggested roadmap.
However, it also remains to be seen whether the AIFF reschedules the whole tournament including the qualifiers or not. Clubs like Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala who were part of the conglomerate against the AIFF did not turn up for their respective Super Cup qualifiers, allowing their ISL counterparts to win via walkovers. Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC, have all have been awarded walkover wins in the qualifiers.