It’s not so good times for the Punekars as DSK Shivajians becomes the third team from the city to have opted to not ply their trade in the I-League after Pune FC and Bharat FC.
It is reliably learnt that DSK Shivajians have communicated their decision to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) earlier this month.
The club made it into the top division league through a Request for Proposal (RFP) scheme which gave them immunity from relegation for three seasons. In the first year, they finished ninth and last year they could only make it to the seventh slot.
Players too expressed their disappointment to the club management for the non-clearance of dues during the course of last season. The club’s academy staff too had gone on strike for their wages.
The AIFF stated that it would look into the matter of on-payment of dues however, that hasn’t helped either.
DSK Shivajians recently received the award for Best Home-match organizer of the I-League 2016-17 season jointly with Bengaluru FC at the AIFF awards in June.
It must be noted that Bharat FC too had made the cut into the I-League through the direct entry scheme but shut shop after having spent over the top in their debut campaign which led to the management deciding to not invest in football anymore.
Pune FC were disillusioned with the roadmap for Indian football as the AIFF continued to give more importance to the ISL over the I-League. Running a team in the I-League meant having no source of revenues, the issue of broadcasting rights and the absence of a concrete blueprint for Indian football going forward which were the primary reasons that compelled the club's owners to cease their investment in the first team.
Meanwhile, attempts made to contact Neel Shah, CEO of DSK Shivajians, were unsuccessful.