Fire in the hole! The turmoil at Pune-based I-League club DSK Shivajians has exacerbated towards a melting point.
Goal can reveal that the entire training campus was on lockdown yesterday, 27th March, after first-team players refused to participate in a training session, conducted by coach Dave Rogers and the technical staff.
It has been revealed the players had taken up a united front after informing the upper echelons of the management, through a letter signed by all of them, that they wouldn't be taking to the turf in Loni, owing to non-payment of dues. It is also believed two senior players from the squad had corralled the players together and convinced them of the white motives behind the agitation.
A practice game that was to be played between FC Pune City junior team and the I-League side has since been cancelled as well.
As documented by Goal earlier, the Reds from Pune were in the thrall of massive financial pitfalls. Not only had important support staff from the Liverpool partnered academy been dismissed, but a dearth of arrears had yet to be handed out to the coaching staff, the players and even the support staff since the beginning of the league in January.
In this regard, the players have been unnerved and sought an immediate clearance of dues. It is believed that Shirish Kulkarni, the patron-in-chief of the club along with the club's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Neel Shah and Rogers debriefed the players on the situation to dismantle tension, in a closed doors meeting. This is believed to have happened just 20 days ago.
In fact, so dire was the situation that it is believed the academy staff actually resorted to going on strike for their salaries. Rogers himself preferred not to comment on the issue of reimbursements, when quizzed, opting not to clearly deny the matter.
As widely reported in the Pune press, the D S Kulkarni conglomerate is allegedly believed to be in throes of financial instability. Recently, a video that did the rounds of social media revealed the Kulkarni himself berating and scolding staff for passing cheques to debtors which weren’t going to be accepted.
It seems now, however, that the players have taken matters into their own hands, and it remains to be seen how well, the Shivajains' management now handle the matter.