Thumbing a nose at the All India Football Federation, Pune FC on Tuesday decided to stick to its stand of not releasing two of its players -- goalkeeper Subrata Paul and striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, for the Indian team's forthcoming tour to the West Indies and United Kingdom.
AIFF had directed all clubs, including Pune FC, to release their respective players for the twin tour.
The Pune club has cited that its players were overworked and also pointed to FIFA regulations and said it would not release the two players for the twin tour which it has termed as "inconsequential".
"We are not going to release Subrata and Jeje. Both the tours will have no bearing on India's points (in the ranking system) and seriously hampers the club's pre-season preparations," said Pune FC's Head Operations, Chirag Tanna.
"We had already conveyed our decision to the AIFF in writing earlier and the decision taken by the Emergency Committee on Monday does not change the stand we took earlier."
Tanna was critical of the workload that both his players have had already.
"Jeje has been playing non-stop for the past 18 months and needs rest more than anything else at this hour, while goalkeeper Paul needs to recover from a niggle that he has been carrying for some time now," he stated.
According to the club, Article 1 - Point 2 of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players states that the release of players is mandatory for matches on dates listed in the coordinated international match calendar and for all matches for which a duty to release players exists on the basis of a special decision by the FIFA Executive Committee.
The FIFA calendar clearly states that August 10 is reserved as a FIFA friendly match day, while September 2-6 is an International match day. Thus, as per the FIFA calendar the tour matches in the Caribbean and UK do not list under any of the two prescribed dates of official matches, the club said.
Additionally, Article 1 - Point 3 of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players states that it is not compulsory to release players for matches scheduled on dates not listed in the coordinated international match calendar, the club said.
"As a reminder, Pune FC in the past has always cooperated with the AIFF in the interest of Indian football development. Pune FC had also informed that if these matches were in anyway going to benefit India move up the FIFA rankings they would release the players," Tanna said.
"However, in this case both the trips are inconsequential and hence the stand," he added.