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Bhaichung Bhutia decides to shut down United Sikkim FC

00:33 BST 23/09/2019
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Bhutia stated two main reasons behind the closure of the 15-year-old club that partook in the 2012-13 I-League

Former India international Bhaichung Bhutia has decided to bring down the curtains on former I-League side United Sikkim FC, according to a club statement, on Sunday.

After being formed in 2004 by Bhutia, Arjun Rai and Sherap Lepcha, the club was registered as a professional outfit under the Sikkim Football Association in 2011 by Bhutia and was co-owned by Dubai-based group Fidelis World and singer Shankar Mahadevan.

The statement released by the club read, "This has been a very difficult decision for us to take. It is with great pain that we are announcing that United Sikkim Football Club will cease to exist from today.

"We have come to a decision to shut the club after 15 years of existence for two reasons majorly. Firstly, to focus on grassroot football and secondly, there has been a huge conflict of interest since both Bhaichung and Arjun are now part of the Sikkim Football Association."

The Snow Lions had a single season in the I-League (2012-13) after winning the I-League second division in 2012 and have ever since been part of the Sikkim local league, the S-League, where they won four titles.

"We were the first club from Sikkim and only the second from the Northeast to play in the I-League which was the highest league at that time. During that period, 14 to 18 local players were playing in the highest league in the country, compared to three or four players currently," the club statement also read.

The club also laid their claim at developing players like Sandesh Jhingan and Komal Thatal.

"Komal Thatal was sent to Kolkata by USFC to play the Manchester Cup, where he was selected for the U-14 Indian team academy. One of the biggest products of USFC is Sandesh Jhingan, currently Indian national team player," said the club.