Dempo Sports Club have accused the All India Football Federation (AIFF) of neglecting their players during camps, forcing injured players to play and flouting standard medical procedures.
In a strongly worded three-page reply to the AIFF's showcause for not releasing Mahesh Gawli and Sameeer Naik, Dempo secretary-cum-coach Armando Colaco pointed at instances in the past when the federation had left the players to fend for themselves and cited an example of how Anthony Pereira, one of India's most promising players was left to fend for himelf after he got injured during the tour of Portugal.
"None of the AIFF officials showed any concern nor did they care for him. He was so disgusted that he didn't want to play for India again but we encouraged him," said Colaco.
"Dempo were also surprised at the inclusion of Gawli and Naik in the National camp at a time when neither of them had trained with the club or played competitive matches for their clubs," Armando pointed out in the letter despatched to the federation on Wednesday.
Gawli has a serious knee problem and has not played a single I-League match while Naik has a serious hamstring injury sustained in the match against Mahindra United. It was a surprise how they have been summoned for National duty inspite of their injuries, he said.
Dempo have crucially attached medical certificates for both the players advising at least a month's rest. The certificates are issued by Dr Mahendra Kudchadkar, who incidentally is the same doctor appointed by the federation to treat injured players during the camp.
"We have been co-operative always with the federation at all times and released players for the camps, as and when directed, although FIFA rules stipulate that club must release players just seven days prior to a competitive match or tournament and just three days prior to any friendly fixture.
"Never in our history, did we refrain from releasing players, but this time it was very essential for us to keep these players back due to the seriousness of their injuries," said Colaco.
The decision to suspend the two players was termed as "silly" by Dempo, who advised the AIFF to analyse and verify the problems rather than hastily jump to illogical conclusions.
"It's absurd to suspend players who have served the nation for so many years with dignity and honour. Their only fault is that they are seriously injured. Don't these players deserve respect?" asked Armando, who insisted that the decision of not releasing the two players was in the best interest of the players and the country.