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Rediff.com  » Sports » Pune FC to release players for Caribbean tour

Pune FC to release players for Caribbean tour

August 10, 2011 19:20 IST

The All India Football Federation heaved a sigh of relief as I-League club Pune FC agreed to release their goalkeeper Subrata Paul and striker Jeje Lalpekhlua for the national team's tour of the Caribbean.

The Indian team is scheduled to leave for the Caribbean tour on August 12 to play three international friendlies.

They are slated to play Barbados (August 17), Trinidad & Tobago (August 21), followed by a match against Guyana three days later.

Pune FC, who were adamant not to release Paul and Lalpekhlua even after AIFF Emergency Committee's plea, changed their stance in the interest of Indian football.

Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan and former league champions Dempo had already agreed to release their players following a slew of meetings between the federation and the clubs officials.

"We have received a letter from Kushal Das (AIFF general secretary) today afternoon at 1.30 and we have agreed to release our players," said Chirag Tanna, head of operations in Pune FC.

"Since these are not exhibition matches and the results will be considered for FIFA rankings, we have agreed to release our players, including Jeje and Paul.

"We have maintained that we are always for the benefit of Indian football and since these are not exhibition matches we have agreed to release our players," he added.

Goan side Dempo were the first club to allow all their nine players to join the national team though under the condition that they will be called back if other clubs refused to release even a single player.

Later in the evening, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, too, gave the go-ahead after initially threatening to call their players back.

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