The I-League defending champions launched a scathing attack on those in power and blamed them for the country losing out on an important spot in the prestigious ACL…Salgaocar SC blasted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for being careless in their attitude as the club licensing documents weren’t sent to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on time which eventually led to India missing out on the play-off spot in the Asian Champions League (ACL), the topmost club competition for a club in the continent.
In a meeting held in Goa on Tuesday to brief the I-League clubs from the region, namely Dempo SC, Salgaocar SC, Sporting Clube de Goa and Churchill Brothers SC, in the presence of Goa Football Association (GFA) on the club licensing norms, Salgaocar SC’s general secretary, R.A.J Gomes began his tirade against the concerned authorities for failing to be professional in their act.
It is reliably learnt that the said club official asked their media officer, Abhijit Patil to narrate his experience at the AFC Cup workshop held last week in Malaysia. It is believed that in an open question and answer session, Patil raised the question as to why India weren’t considered for the ACL play-off spot following which a senior AFC official had conveyed that they hadn’t yet received the documents from India.
Dempo SC have featured twice in the ACL play-offs, with the most recent being against Al Sadd of Qatar who went on to become the continent's champions, along side Churchill Brothers SC in the last three years.
“According to Salgaocar, there was a goof-up by the AIFF though Roma Khanna, the I-League club licensing manager, refused to accept their argument. We think this is a blunder on the part of the AIFF if what Salgaocar claim is true,” said one of the Goan club’s representative present at the said meeting.
While though India would have any which ways failed to make the cut for the ACL play-off spot for failing to meet the required criterion, the question that beckons is as to why weren't the documents sent, as claimed by Salgaocar.
For the record, the AFC announced the slots for the ACL back in November last week which saw Qatar overtake Saudi Arabia as West Zone’s top league. The East Zone saw Japan have four entrants whereas South Korea and China would have three direct and one play-off place each.
West Zone - Entrants
Saudi Arabia 3.5
Iran 2 (2 playoff entrants)
East Zone - Entrants
Korea Republic 3.5
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