AIFF released a statement after I-League defending champions Minerva Punjab failed to turn up for their match against Real Kashmir FC in Srinagar on Monday.
“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 match commissioner along with the referees who have been posted in Srinagar since Friday (February 15, 2019), was at the venue for the match for a slated 2 pm kick-off, along with host club Real Kashmir FC as per the regulations.
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.”
Two terrorists, mastermind of the Pulwama terror attack, were gunned down in an encounter with security forces on Monday morning.
In a statement, I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said, “The local security authorities in Srinagar had given the go-ahead to hold the match. The AIFF had assured of all the necessary arrangements for players and officials by the local authority.
“Whole security arrangement of the players from the airport to the team hotel and from traveling from the hotel to the ground and return, everything was taken care of.”
Ranjit Bajaj, the owner of the Minerva Punjab Football Club, said he could not force his players to play in Srinagar at a time like this.
“Anytime / Any venue [other than Srinagar] we @minervapunjabfc are willing to play @realkashmirfc can’t force my players to go to a place which is like a war zone right now – encounter lasted 12 hours where the #PulwamaTerrorAttack happened and ended a few hours ago – AIFF ??” Bajaj said in a series of tweets.