JAYDEEP BASU | IANS
The much-delayed and debated I-League game between Real Kashmir FC and Minerva Punjab FC is unlikely to be played this season, according to All India Football Federation (AIFF) sources.
“Since the I-League is already over and we are at the end of the season, there is hardly any point in playing the match. Both teams have realised the futility of the effort. A final decision will be taken in the league committee meeting in Bhubaneswar on Saturday,” claimed an AIFF official.
It is, however, not known whether both teams will receive a point each or the match would simply be called off. In case both teams are given one point each, Real Kashmir’s place in the final league standing will not be affected. RKFC are currently third in the points table with 36 points – a clear six points behind runners-up East Bengal.
On the other hand, Minerva stand to gain – one more point would take them to the ninth position ahead of Gokulam FC. Currently, both Gokulam and Minerva have 17 points each but the former are ahead in goal difference.
The game was originally scheduled for February 18 but did not take place after Minerva refused to travel to Srinagar, insisting that their foreign players had been advised against it by their respective embassies in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack.
Minerva’s refusal kicked off a controversy as the AIFF rejected the club’s request to stay the game and Real Kashmir received a walk-over since the Punjab team did not turn up. Within a few days, the federation did a volte face and ordered a replay after the Punjab side approached the Delhi High Court.
The league committee, headed by the federation’s senior vice president Subroto Dutta, has a tough task in hand on Saturday as it would have to sit on judgement on the refusal of seven I-League clubs to play the Super Cup in Bhubaneswar. Though the federation officials are flexing their muscles about recommending strong action against the clubs citing rule books, it might turn out to be a damp squib and the matter could be referred to a higher committee.