A cloud of uncertainty hung over the fate of Super Cup, scheduled to start in two days' time, after seven I-League clubs Wednesday pulled out of the tournament citing unfair treatment by the All India Football Federation.
Minerva Punjab FC, whose players are in Bhubaneswar for the past four days, could be called back to their base in Panchkula if the AIFF fails to acknowledge the aggrieved clubs' concerns, owner Ranjit Bajaj said.
"We are yet to get any response from the AIFF, I am not expecting to get one either by tomorrow. So, I might just call my players back here," Bajaj said.
While the AIFF has managed to convince Churchill Brothers to not side with the aggrieved clubs, Chennai City, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Neroca FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala and Minerva Punjab stayed united in their protest against the national federation.
"We have together resolved to withdraw our respective teams' participation from the upcoming Hero Super Cup 2019," a collective release by the clubs stated.
The Super Cup is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar, with the qualifiers starting from March 15. The final is slated for April 13.
Minerva had Tuesday pointed out that the I-League clubs 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 competitions 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 I-League teams lock horns against the Indian Super League teams. It is India's main club knockout tournament and Minerva was scheduled to play the qualifying round against FC Pune City on the March 15.
Meanwhile, Bajaj has decided to sue the match commissioner of the I-League game between Minerva Punjab and Chennai City, Balasubramaniam, in criminal and civil defamation case, for insinuating that the game may have been fixed, in his report to the AIFF.
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