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Super Cup 2019: I-League clubs willing to play if qualifiers restart

9:23 PM IST 21/03/19
Ranjit Bajaj Minerva Punjab I-League 2017-18 champions
I-League clubs will play Super Cup 2019 only if AIFF reconducts the qualifiers....

I-League clubs are willing to take part in the Super Cup 2019 after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel reached out to the clubs on Thursday and assured them that he will hold a meeting with them in mid-April.

Nine I-League clubs, who had earlier decided to not take part in the Super Cup citing AIFF's unfair treatment towards them, have now changed their decision after Patel's letter. But they will only take part in the knock-out competition if all the clubs are allowed to take part.

Speaking to  Goal, Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj said, "We are willing to play provided that the qualifiers restart. The three clubs sacrificed not only for themselves but for all the nine clubs. So, all of us agree that we will play the Super Cup only if the qualifiers are played once again. All of us are standing together. 

"We have it in writing from all the clubs that they are not going to participate if the qualifiers are bypassed. 

"AIFF  have  sent us (Minerva, Aizawl, Gokulam) the letters as well asking our stance (on super cup participation) and so I think they are willing to reschedule the qualifiers."

Mohun Bagan too released a statement where they stated exaxctly what the Minerva owner said, Their statement read, "We express our sincere gratitude to our President who has offered to meet us in spite of his hectic schedule. We duly take note of our President's advice and will ensure that the Sport of football will not suffer because of the differences.

"We reciprocate the goodwill gesture by giving our consent/willingness to play the 'SUPER CUP' with the request to start the competition afresh and reschedule the qualifying rounds."

Bajaj also mentioned that they would ask the Indian FA to conduct their I-League clash against Real Kashmir FC which got postponed after Minerva refused to play the match in Srinagar in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

He said, "The point is that the match should happen before the qualifiers. If we win the match then we will face a different opposition in the Super Cup. But if it is further postponed then there's no significance of holding the match. 

"We are willing to play in Srinagar provided we have it in writing from concerned authorities that they are will take charge of our security. But the very fact that they are willing to provide armoured vehicles for transportation suggests that something is not right over there. 

"If we do not get the assurances then we are more than happy to play the match in Delhi."

Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC failed to turn up for their Super Cup qualifying matches on March 15 and March 16.

Due to the I-League clubs' absence on the match days, the AIFF awarded Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC wins by virtue of walkovers.