The fate of the Super Cup hangs in the balance after seven I-League clubs pulled out of the tournament two days before its scheduled start, citing various issues and that their concerns were not addressed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The aggrieved clubs include newly crowned champions Chennai City FC, East Bengal FC, Mohun Bagan, Neroca FC, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala FC and Minerva Punjab FC. “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 AIFF has managed to convince Churchill Brothers to not side with the other clubs.
The AIFF has sent a letter to the clubs saying that they were ready for talks and address the concerns of the I-League clubs.
Minerva Punjab FC's owner Ranjit Bajaj had said that if AIFF didn't address their 'concerns, he could call back his players from Bhubaneswar. The Super Cup is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar, with the qualifiers starting from March 15. The final is on for April 13. Hosted by the AIFF, the Super Cup tournament has I-League teams facing off against the Indian Super Leagues (ISL) teams.
Minerva had pointed out that the I-League clubs were being neglected by the football federation. It said that the AIFF has not provided financial assistance to the participating teams despite having a title sponsor.
(With inputs from PTI)