The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Sunday informed East Bengal that the I-League 2018-19 match between Real Kashmir FC and East Bengal will take place at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on February 28 as per schedule.
Post the terror attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama region, East Bengal had raised concerns about travelling to Srinagar citing security issues. Minerva Punjab, who were supposed to play there on February 18, did not turn up for the same reason.
East Bengal CEO Sanjit Sen had earlier sent an email to AIFF asking about the safety and security of Srinagar and the steps the parent body is taking to provide additional security to the travelling side.
AIFF has reverted stating that the match will go on as per schedule. The match was supposed to be held on February 10 but due to unfavourable weather conditions, it was postponed to February 28.
The East Bengal club management and the management of their investors Quess Corp will now discuss the next step and whether the club will actually travel to Srinagar.
Club CEO Sanjit Sen told Goal, "We have received a mail from AIFF where they have stated that the match will be played on February 28 in Srinagar. The East Bengal management and Quess Corp management will discuss this matter in the next few days. As of now, all arrangements have been made to travel to Kashmir. At present we are focusing only on our next match which is on February 25 against Aizawl FC."
East Bengal’s board member and senior official Debabrata Sarkar on Tuesday suggested that they would request the AIFF to consider the situation from a humanitarian angle and postpone the game.
He said, “We want football to continue in Kashmir. But we cannot play football at the cost of human lives. Our coach is a foreigner and we have six foreign players in our team who have raised their concerns over playing there.
“We are not here to fight with AIFF. We want to protect football and footballers. If something happens to the players it will be a very bad advertisement for Indian football. But if AIFF forces us then we will try to convince our players to go.
“We have never said we will not play in Kashmir. We will definitely go. What we are suggesting is to reschedule the match. Let things get back to normalcy in Kashmir. We will play the match in Kashmir only, but after a few days.”