Subrata Dutta, who serves as the Senior Vice-President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), opined that the I-League clubs should have participated in the Super Cup as opposed to boycotting the competition.
This was after as many as seven I-League clubs backed out of the competition after registering their players. This was a major embarrassment for the organizers and the broadcasters as most of the games didn’t take place with the opposition merely getting a walkover.
Dutta stressed that while the I-League clubs may have a certain reason behind their decision to protest, they took a wrong decision in choosing to not participate in the Cup competition.
“The Super Cup which is going on and it is very unfortunate that many of the I-League clubs have not participated. I feel that the purpose of a football club is obviously to play football. If they want to protest, there are other means and ways to do it instead of not playing the game. At any cost, football should not suffer,” Dutta told Goal.
It must be noted that the I-League clubs had requested for a meeting with AIFF President Praful Patel before the Super Cup qualifiers. While Patel did agree to meet the clubs in mid-April, by the time he responded, the qualifiers had already taken place with three I-League clubs boycotting it.
The clubs thereafter, asked for the entire competition including the qualifiers to be re-played to which the AIFF didn’t agree to which led to seven clubs choosing to boycott.
“And when Mr. Patel had agreed to sit and discuss their issues, any problem could have been sorted out. There may be reasons behind the protest but this is not the right way of protesting by neglecting and not participating in the tournament. I cannot support this.
“We want the clubs to do well and thrive. We are not against the clubs. I think they should understand our feelings and co-operate with us so that we can take Indian football to new heights hand-in-hand,” reasoned the experienced AIFF official.