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Super Cup match called up after Minerva fails to turn up

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneshwar 

The country's knock-out tournament, Super Cup, was on Friday thrown into jeopardy after did not turn up for the first match of the qualification round, prompting the national federation to describe it as a "crazy" and "unacceptable" move.

A cloud of uncertainty had already hung over tournament after eight clubs decided to pull out, citing unfair treatment by the Federation (AIFF).

But interestingly, three of the eight protesting clubs -- Minerva, Gokulam Kerala and -- which were to play in the qualification round (on March 15 and 16) had come here with their full strength teams.

Minerva did not turn for the mandatory pre-match press conference on Thursday and the Punjab side also did not take the field on Friday against side FC.

Gokulam and Aizawl, who are to play on Saturday against Delhi Dynamos and Chennaiyin FC respectively under the schedule, did not turn up for pre-match press conference on Friday. said that they will not play against Chennaiyin FC on Saturday.

"As of now, we are not going to play against Chennaiyin on Saturday. Nothing has come from the side of the AIFF and it seems nothing is going to happen also. We (eight clubs) will remain united and we will take a collective decision," Aizawl FC's and Team said.

AIFF said Minerva's decision to boycott the match would harm the game in the country.

"There may be differences (with the clubs and the AIFF) but to boycott a match because of the differences is crazy and not acceptable. It is not a right move and will harm football in the country," Das told

"I would encourage the clubs to compete in the tournament for the sake of football in the country," he added.

Das, however, appeared to be leaving some room for a rapprochement between the AIFF and the clubs.

Asked if action will be taken against Minerva or any other team which does not turn up for the Super Cup, Das said, "As of now, we are not talking about action but we believe better sense will prevail and the clubs will play football."

He also did not give a direct reply when asked if Minerva will be declared to have forfeited the match against FC.

"Whatever is provided under the tournament (Super Cup) rules will be applied," he said.

An AIFF source said that the is yet to decide on the status of the Minerva vs game, whether it's "cancelled or called called off."

The eight clubs had pointed out that the teams are being neglected in all aspects by the country's football federation.

The clubs said it had written a letter to the AIFF in February regarding multiple concerns such as the future of the league but they are "yet to hear back" from the federation.

Minerva also highlighted how the AIFF has "not provided any financial assistance to the participating teams" despite having a title sponsor for the event. With no AFC berth also on offer, the club felt the competition lacked any incentive for the teams.

The Super Cup is a knockout tournament hosted by the AIFF where top six teams each from the and ISL gets a direct qualification to the main round while the lower-ranked four sides from both the leagues play in the qualification round.

The main round will be held between March 29 and April 13.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 18:20 IST