BENGALURU, FEB 19
Minerva Punjab moved the Delhi High Court on Monday after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) refused to relocate the I-League match against Real Kashmir.
Minerva did not travel to Srinagar, claiming it was not given the “written” security assurances that it sought, even as the hosts turned up for the match.
“We have filed a writ petition seeking relief from playing in Srinagar at this volatile time,” Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj .
“Even on Monday there was a 12-hour encounter where four army men have been martyred. And they are saying ‘come and play here’. Unless the court intervenes, we are not expecting natural justice.”
In a statement, the AIFF said that the match commissioner’s report following the no-show had been sent to the League Committee for further action even as it chose not to comment on the consequences.
The AIFF added: “Despite the tragic events, football for the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been maintained on schedule, with assistance from the security provided by the authorities.
Qualifying matches for Santosh Trophy were completed on February 16, approximately 36km from Jammu in Katra, which was, and is still under curfew.”
Real Kashmir co-founders Sandeep Chattoo and Shamim Meraj expressed disappointment. “We had made all the necessary arrangements for the visiting team.
Despite apprehensions, a lot of locals turned up for the match,”in a joint statement.
“Minerva Punjab should not have mixed sports with politics.
This will only amplify the ongoing hatred against Kashmiris and is likely to impact upcoming matches too,” said Manzoor Ahmad, technical coach of Real Kashmir.
“We regret the decision. We waited on the ground for them to arrive. Violence on one side and football on other side has been going on in J&K for three decades now.”
Real Kashmir is first team from Jammu & Kashmir to qualify for the I-League, in 2018, raising hopes for football talent of the State. The rookie team has done exceptionally well compared to other nine seasoned teams that qualified for the league all over the country.
BENGALURU, FEB 19